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Jan 4, 2019

HBC climbs after chairman buys stake from Ontario Teachers' at 29% premium

Real estate is the future for HBC: Retail Advisors' Bruce Winder


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Hudson’s Bay Co. Chairman Richard Baker boosted his holding in the struggling retailer, buying Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board’s stake at a 29 per cent premium from Thursday’s close.

An entity controlled by Baker agreed to pay $9.45 a share for the 9.8 per cent stake, valuing the deal at $169.7 million, according to a statement Friday.

Baker said in the statement that his “significant ownership” demonstrates his commitment to the retailer, which also owns Saks Fifth Avenue. Hudson’s Bay is in the midst of turnaround efforts after selling off a flagship building in Manhattan, unloading a minority stake and merging with a rival in Germany.

Hudson’s Bay, which touched a record low of $7.14 last week, climbed 15.92 per cent - or $1.17 to close at $8.52 on Friday, the biggest intraday gain since the end of November.

As a result of the deal, a large shareholder group controlled by Baker that votes as a block, L&T B Group, will control about 25 per cent of voting rights, up from about 16 per cent previously, it said in the statement.

Hudson’s Bay Chief Executive Officer Helena Foulkes, who joined last year, is now focused on fixing the fundamentals of the retailer’s North American business, in particular the Saks OFF 5th discount chain. The company has also been under pressure from activist investor Jonathan Litt, who has been advocating for changes, including calling on the company to sell the Saks Fifth Avenue brand and explore ways to unlock the value of its real estate.

--With assistance from Scott Deveau.