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Nov 28, 2018

Hudson’s Bay activist Litt calls for 'urgently needed' board overhaul

HBC scales back European exposure with Signa deal

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Activist investor Jonathan Litt is taking renewed aim again at Hudson’s Bay Co., this time calling for “urgently needed” change to the retailer’s board of directors.

Litt, chief investment officer and founder of Land & Buildings Investment Management, said in a letter to Hudson’s Bay shareholders that the company should sell a number of assets, including the Saks Fifth Avenue brand and its flagship Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, Lord & Taylor as well as its remaining 50 per cent interest in Galeria Kaufhof to Karstadt. 

“HBC’s board has an appalling track record, overseeing more than $2 billion of shareholder value destruction with a 60 per cent share price decline over the last three years – all while the company’s department store peers have risen 25 per cent in 2018,” Litt said in the letter.

“We believe that change on the board is urgently needed to ensure that the board listens to its shareholders and takes the steps needed to truly maximize value for all shareholders,” adding he intends to reach out to other shareholders about calling a special meeting to make board-level changes.

He noted Land & Buildings has an unidentified former HBC executive in mind as a likely candidate for the board.

Litt has repeatedly complained that HBC is really operating as a real estate company instead of a retailer.