Briefing

Hudson’s Bay chairman leads $1-billion offer to take retailer private

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The group—which includes Rhone Capital, WeWork Property Advisors, Hanover Investments and Abrams Capital Management—is offering $9.45 a share, 48 per cent more than Friday’s closing price. The bidders collectively own 57 per cent of the retailer. In a separate announcement on Monday, Toronto-headquartered HBC said it plans to sell approximately half of the European operations that it still owns to its partner, Signa Holding GmBH, for around $1.5 billion. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: This is chairman Richard Baker’s latest in a long list of moves to try to turn HBC around. The company has reduced staff and unloaded unprofitable stores, particularly those of its smaller and discount brands. In February, it announced the closure of all 37 of its Home Outfitters stores in Canada, and said it was considering closing 20 locations of its Saks Off 5th chain, which has 133 stores in the U.S. and Canada. But the real long-term strategy may be HBC’s real estate. Baker’s family firm is a mall developer, and HBC has made billions selling its properties in the past. That explains WeWork’s involvement in the deal. The co-working company closed its purchase of HBC subsidiary Lord & Taylor’s flagship Manhattan store in February, and has plans to open a location in the HBC flagship store in downtown Toronto.