If you have followed Penney's media soap opera closely, you know by now the "Bill Ackman TV trade" is a losing one. Let's rewind the tape:
May 2012: After J.C. Penney reported a same-store sales decline of 18.9 percent. Ackman appeared on CNBC claiming "sales have bottomed." Really? The following quarter same-store sales worsened.
November 2012: After reporting a same-store sales decline of 26 percent, Ackman appears on CNBC reiterating the turnaround story and suggested that the retailer hand out "pins" with secret promotional codes on the back to perhaps save the holiday season. Nope. See same-store sales decline of 31.7 percent.
April 2013: Shortly after Ron Johnson's demise as CEO, Ackman speaks at a conference and says JCP is worth $75 a share. Not exactly the 10 bagger he previously called for but still "Fantasy Island." I do not believe the upcoming earnings report will support the fantasy case.
As the old expression goes, Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
On Thursday, before Ackman's lastest salvo, the board shot back at Ackman's decision to release the letter to the media, calling his actions "disruptive and counterproductive."
(Read more: JC Penney board erupts into fight over next CEO)
The retailer has told CNBC it has "no statement at this time."
But this back and forth, sounds like a great working environment that will surely tempt a quality CEO. Thanks again Bill.
Here is the reality: Ackman hand-picked Johnson, the leader who put the nail in Penney's coffin by taking discounts away from the consumer against everyone's advice.
From my point of view, Ullman did shareholders a favor by stepping in this past April and starting to do damage control by reassuring vendors. To pull the one person vendors trust out of his seat before holiday, would be a mistake.
Ackman once said on CNBC "time is your friend." In this case, I would agree.