J.C. Penney hires Blackstone as adviser: source

J.C. Penney Co Inc has hired the financial advisory arm of Blackstone Group LP as it explores ways to bolster its balance sheet, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The ailing retailer is seeking to raise about $1 billion in cash, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the news earlier. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the paper said options could include selling a minority stake in J.C. Penney and that J.C. Penney has already reached out to possible investors including private equity firms.

A J.C. Penney spokeswoman said that over the last several months, the company has hired outside advisors to provide it with "expertise about how to best position the company from a financial standpoint during the transformation."

"It is safe to assume this will continue as part of the work now underway to develop a game plan for the company going forward," the spokeswoman said in an email without confirming Blackstone as the adviser.

Blackstone declined to comment.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York)