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Jun 10, 2019

HBC Timeline: Key moves that have shaped the retailer’s recent history

HBC needs to go private to undergo the 'drastic surgery' it needs: Retail Advisors' Bruce Winder

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Canada’s oldest retailer announced Monday that its Executive Chairman Richard Baker is leading the charge in an attempt to take the company private. Take a look back over the last 13 years at Hudson’s Bay Co. and some of the boardroom moves that have shaped its fortunes.

Jan. 26, 2006: U.S. businessman Jerry Zucker acquires HBC in $1.13 billion deal ending a prolonged fight between the retailer and the South Carolina billionaire. Zucker – a longtime minority shareholder in the company – becomes the first U.S. citizen to lead the company. After Zucker’s death in 2008, his widow Anita Zucker becomes the first female governor in the HBC history.

July 16, 2008: Baker’s NRDC Equity Partners – owner of American department store chain Lord & Taylor – buys Hudson’s Bay Co. The New York-based company has plans to expand its brand into Canada and give a fresh approach to both The Bay and Zellers outlets.

Jan. 13, 2011: Hudson’s Bay sells leasing rights to the majority of its Zellers locations to Minnesota-based Target Corp. for $1.83 billion. Target announces plans to open 100-150 stores in Canada.  After a disastrous launch, Target Canada folds in 2015. However, money from the Target deal allows HBC to pay down debt and revitalize its stores with hopes of attracting more affluent shoppers.

Jan., 2012: Hudson’s Bay Co. assumes operations of Lord and Taylor stores in the U.S.

Nov. 26, 2012: Hudson’s Bay Co. closes a $365 million public offering to become a public company again. Shares trade on the TSX under the symbol HBC.

July 29, 2013: HBC announces a US$2.9 billion deal to acquire U.S. luxury retailer Saks Inc. The company announces plans to open seven full Saks stores and numerous discount locations in Canada.

Sep., 2015: HBC expands into Europe when it acquires German department store chain Galeria Kaufhof and its Belgian subsidiary for US$3.2 billion. In 2017 it would expand in the Netherlands with the takeover of 20 locations of Vroom & Dresemann – a historic Dutch department store chain.

Jan., 2016: HBC announced a US$250 million deal to acquire digital retailer the Gilt Groupe. HBC would later sell the company to online fashion store Rue La La for an undisclosed sum.

Feb. 18, 2016: The company officially opens the first ever Saks Fifth Avenue location in Canada within its flagship Toronto location.

2017: Reports surface in February that HBC has made a takeover bid for U.S. retail giant Macy’s. In June there are more reports that HBC has been in merger talks with struggling retailer Neiman Marcus Group Inc. No deals emerge from the reports.

June, 2017: Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC – an activist investor – threatens to launch a campaign against company managers if HBC does not move quickly to sell and redevelop its real estate assets – including its flagship Saks Fifth Ave. location in Manhattan

Oct. 24, 2017: HBC enters into a US$1 billion deal to sell Lord & Taylor's flagship store in New York City to WeWork. The N.Y.-based startup that provides freelancers and other mobile workers with work space will also take over some upper floors in Bay locations in Toronto, Vancouver  and Galeria Kaufhof in Frankfurt.

Nov. 1, 2017: Richard Baker takes over as HBC interim CEO after the abrupt resignation of company CEO Jerry Storch. Also, Austrian firm Signa Holding makes an unsolicited $4.5 billion offer for German department store chain Galeria Kaufhof. A year later the transaction will close with HBC and Signa becoming partners in a joint venture.

Feb. 21, 2019: Hudson's Bay Co. announces it will close all 37 of its Home Outfitters stores in Canada. The company also says it will conduct a "fleet review" of its Saks OFF 5th chain, which has 133 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

May 6, 2019: The company announces it is reviewing strategic alternatives for its Lord & Taylor business including a possible sale.

June 10, 2019: Baker announces an attempt to take the retailer private, leading a group that owns 57 per cent of HBC’s common shares that seeks full control of HBC at $9.45 per share. Separately, the company says it will raise $1.5 billion by selling its stake in a German real estate joint venture and some related assets.