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Is JC Penney in a 'death spiral’?

Is JCP's situation 'a death spiral?'
Is JCP's situation 'a death spiral?'

J.C. Penney's offering of 84 million shares could be a bad sign for the foundering retailer, Jeff Lick of Galt Investment Partners said Thursday.

The company announced after the closing bell that it would sell stock in a secondary offering, sending shares 5 percent lower in after-hours trading. The additional stock would be priced at $9.65 per share, totaling $810.6 million and represents a 38 percent increase in outstanding equity.

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Shares of JCP had closed up almost 3 percent, ending the day at $10.42.

On CNBC's "Fast Money," Lick, whose consumer-focused firm had seen 20 percent year-to-date returns, said that the move might have been motivated by outside pressure on the company.

JC Penney issuing 84 million shares
JC Penney issuing 84 million shares

"My suspicion is that the vendor community is basically going to J.C. Penney and said, 'Hey, if you want to be shipped, you're going to need to raise some money,'" he said.

"When companies get into these type of situations, it's a death spiral. They sell inventory for cheap, and the next thing you know, they don't have inventory. And it just goes down and down and down. And that's what pretty much what J.C. Penney is in. So, I suspect that's the issue, is that they need to raise money to buy goods."

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The news of the offering came after J.C. Penney CEO Mike Ullman had said the company didn't need to raise additional capital. The sale of secondary stock could raise nearly $900 million for the company.

Karen Finerman of Metropolitan Capital Advisors said that Ullman might have had another reason to make such a statement.(Read more: Get selective with retail stocks: Stephanie Link)

"If he indeed said that, you could certainly make the case that he was looking to goose the stock," she said. "Part of why it was down was fear of a very, very dilutive offering, just like this. So, that was really odd that he would say that."

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Tim Seymour of said that it may be true that the company didn't need the cash infusion.

"If I was about to default on a loan and I knew I had a line of credit over here, I'd probably take it," he said.

(Read more: Brace for 'Octaper' or buy stock dips?)

But Seymour also saw another problem.

"At some point with this stock, you feel like what you like to do as a hedge-fund manager is you like to be buying somebody else puke," he said. "If you have a case where you can ascertain the sum of the parts and say, 'Look, this company's obviously not going anywhere anytime soon.' Having said that people have thrown this out the window."

StockMonster's Guy Adami added, "The whole thing stinks."

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.

Trader disclosure: On Sept. 26, 2013, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Karen Finerman is long BAC; Karen Finerman is long C; Karen Finerman is long JPM; Karen Finerman is long TGT; Karen Finerman is long GOOG; Karen Finerman is long M; Karen Finerman is long JCP; Karen Finerman is long MA; Karen Finerman is long MDY PUTS; Karen Finerman is long SPY; Guy Adami is long C; Guy Adami is long GS; Guy Adami is long INTC; Guy Adami is long MSFT; Guy Adami is long AGU; Guy Adami is long NUE; Guy Adami is long BTU; Guy Adami's wife, Linda Snow, works at Merck; Tim Seymour is long AAPL; Tim Seymour is long INTC; Tim Seymour is long SBUX; Tim Seymour is long WMT; As of 9/19 Steve Grasso is long BA; Steve Grasso is long BAC; Steve Grasso is long BBRY; Steve Grasso is long GDX; Steve Grasso is long GOOG; Steve Grasso is long HERO; Steve Grasso is long HPQ; Steve Grasso is long MHY; Steve Grasso is long LNG; Steve Grasso is long MJNA; Steve Grasso is long NVIV; Steve Grasso is long PFE; Steve Grasso is long QCOM; Steve Grasso is long S; Steve Grasso is long ASTM; Steve Grasso is long POT; Steve Grasso is long DECK; Steve Grasso is long DHI; Steve Grasso is long EEM.