No matter who wins the proxy battle at Target Corp. this month, the retailer's days in the credit card business appear to be numbered.

William Ackman, the activist shareholder campaigning to get himself and four others elected to the Target board at the May 28 annual meeting, has long pressed the company to sell its $8.77 billion portfolio of cobranded and private-label cards. A year ago, Target compromised by selling a minority stake in the portfolio to JPMorgan Chase & Co. But now the retailer says it is interested in selling the remainder once market conditions improve.

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