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In the news: J.C. Penny shareholder halves stake, Ford and Starwood update European plans, Heinz CEO gets big 'chute'

Headlines this morning include a major shareholder of J.C. Penney dumping shares, a golden parachute for Heinz's CEO,  Ford's outlook for Europe, Starwood Hotels planning an expansion in Europe and a Senate committe is critical of JP Morgan.

J.C. Penney Co.
One of struggling retailer J.C. Penney's (JCP)  largest shareholders reportedly sold half of its stake in the company. Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) is reported to have sold 10 million shares at $16.40 through Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg reported, citing people who were not authorized to speak on the matter. Vornado reported a $224.9 million loss on its 10.7 percent stake in the company last week. Vornado's chairman Steven Roth is a member of the retailer's board.

Bill Johnson, the CEO of H.J. Heinz (HNZ), could receive more than $200 million if he leaves the company after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.a) and 3G Capital take over the condiment company. Johnson would qualify for a “golden parachute” that would include $56 million in cash, stock, bonuses and other benefits, plus he already controls almost $100 million in shares and has $57 million in vested deferred compensation.

Automaker Ford expects a rebound in some European markets in 2013. The company's European CEO Stephen Odell said at the Geneva Auto Show that recent surveys of hiring managers and supplier order books show signs of improvement, although he also acknowledged that the results of recent election in Italy “possibly didn't help.” The company still expects to break even in Europe in 2015.

Starwood Hotels
Staying in Europe, Starwood Hotels (HOT) plans to open 50 new hotels on the continent in the next five years. The company which currently has 163 hotels in 32 countries in Europe, plans to open nine hotels there in 2013, including new facilities in Russia and Turkey.  All told, the expansion will lead to a 30 percent increase in the company's European hotels.

JP Morgan
A report from a Senate committee found flaws in disclosures by banking giant JP Morgan (JPM) in connection with the company's multi-billion “London Whale” trading loss. The report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is also critical of former CFO Douglas Braunstein. The full findings are expected to be released on March 15.

Bobby Raines

Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at braines@marketintelligencecenter.com or follow him on Twitter: @BRatMICenter.