Report: J.C. Penney files lawsuit to block bondholders from declaring default

New York -- J.C. Penney Co. filed a lawsuit on Monday asking a Delaware judge to declare that it is not in a default of its bond agreements, protecting nearly $3 billion of debt from being due in the coming months, Reuters reported.

According to the report, J.C. Penney received a letter earlier on Monday from the Brown Rudnick law firm that said J.C. Penney had breached a covenant of a bond indenture agreement by granting a lien on its inventory. J.C. Penney filed the lawsuit after receiving the letter.     
   
The indenture agreement related to $326 million of outstanding bonds that mature in 2037. However, the letter said that J.C. Penney could be in default on all of its $2.9 billion bond debt, according to the lawsuit.

"We believe this notice of default is invalid, completely without merit and is intended to create self-interested trading opportunities in the market, and we will therefore vigorously defend the interests of J.C. Penney and all of our constituencies," J.C. Penney CFO Ken Hannah said in a statement.

J.C. Penney said in the complaint that the demand from Brown Rudnick came as the company is investing significantly to update its stores.