Hudsons’s Bay filing an IPO

by Harry Sheff

TORONTO—Hudson’s Bay Company, owner of The Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the US, has filed an initial public offering with securities regulators in Canada. In a statement, the company said, “The offering was made through a syndicate of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets, CIBC and BofA Merrill Lynch who will act as joint bookrunners.”

According to the prospectus Hudson’s Bay released this week, its 48 Lord & Taylor stores did $1.4 billion in sales and the 90 Bay stores did $2.2 billion in 2011. The company also operates 69 Home Outfitters stores, all in Canada. Hudson’s Bay said that from 2009 to 2011, sales per square foot rose 20 percent at Lord & Taylor and 9 percent at Bay stores. Lord & Taylor has 11 million square feet of retail space and Bay stores have 14 million.

Hudsons’s Bay Company plans to rename The Bay stores “Hudson’s Bay.”

Toronto’s Globe and Mail called Lord & Taylor “The jewel in Hudson’s Bay IPO,” adding that it could raise as much as $400 million.

NRDC Equity Partners, which already owned Lord & Taylor, acquired Hudson’s Bay Company in July 2008 for an undisclosed amount. Hudson’s Bay Company, founded in 1670, is North America’s oldest continually operating company.

NRDC CEO Richard Baker originally planned to either open Lord & Taylor stores in Canada or change the name of at least a dozen Bay stores to Lord & Taylor. That never happened. In fact, by January 2009, Hudson’s Bay was restructuring, laying off some Lord & Taylor employees and giving the new Hudson’s Bay CEO, Jeffrey Sherman, command of both Canadian and US retail operations. Sherman retired less than two years later and Baker assumed his duties. Bonnie Brooks was later named to the position.

In January 2011, US discount retailer Target Corp bought out the leases of as many as 220 Zellers stores in Canada, as Hudson’s Bay shut down that business. As a result of that and exiting its Fields discount department store business, Hudson’s Bay saw a loss of about $150 million for the first half of this fiscal year.