Persons familiar with the deal said the company would pledge a "significant" portion of its property to secure the loan, which is being handled by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The loan would be due in five years, the Journal said.
J.C. Penney is attempting a comeback with recently rehired Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman after firing CEO Ron Johnson.
Johnson blundered by stopping the retailer's discount program in favor of everyday low prices, which did not resonate well with customers.
This week, investor George Soros said his investment company, Soros Fund Management LLC, had bought 7.91 percent of the retail company. That vote of confidence helped the stores' stock value, which rose 11.5 percent on Friday to $17 per share, the Journal said.