Hudson’s bay company to be taken private

by Stephen Garner

Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), which owns Saks Fifth Avenue, has agreed to be taken private in the latest upheaval to hit the retail sector.

The Canadian-based retailer said Monday it will buy back the remaining 43 percent of shares it doesn’t already own at a price of $10.30 Canadian dollars per share (U.S. $7.86), a 9 percent increase from the $9.45 Canadian dollars per share (U.S. $7.21) the group offered in June.

“Over the last four months, with the assistance of our independent financial and legal advisors, we have conducted a thorough evaluation of the shareholder group’s proposal and alternatives available to HBC to maximize shareholder value,” said David Leith, chair of the special committee. “Following this comprehensive evaluation and extensive negotiations with the shareholder group, and consideration of the applicable risks and the opportunities and alternatives available, we are pleased to have reached an agreement with respect to a transaction that provides immediate and fair value to the minority shareholders. The special committee is confident that this transaction represents the best path forward for HBC and the minority shareholders.”

The company has been busy streamlining its operations this past year in an effort to boost its prospects. Going private could help turn things around without the the pressure of the public markets and investors.

In August, Hudson Bay’s sold off Lord & Taylor for $75 million to Le Tote, Inc., a fashion rental subscription service. It received an equity position in Le Tote as part of the deal, in addition to the modest cash payment. It also continues to own the real estate and leases associated with the remaining 38 Lord & Taylor stores.

The company announced in September it was shuttering 15 Hudson’s Bay stores across the Netherlands. It still operates nearly 100 Hudson’s Bay department stores across Canada.