Hudson's Bay going private helps position company for the future: Former HBC CEO Storch
A former chief executive officer of the Hudson’s Bay Company says he’d support a buyout of the retailer - at the right price - because he recognizes it will be tough to execute a turnaround plan while facing the investment community’s scrutiny.
“I’m still a shareholder, I know if an offer comes forward in the range of the last offer or the one that’s being rumoured now, I know I’m a seller in that range, because it’s going to take some time to work all this through,” former HBC CEO Gerald Storch said of the current offers reportedly on the table to take Canada’s oldest company private in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Thursday.
Bloomberg News reported Tuesday a group led by HBC chairman Richard Baker had approached the company’s minority shareholders about upping its go-private offer for the company to “around $11 per share,” up from $10.30.
Tuesday’s reported offer would match a November bid by private-equity firm Catalyst Capital that was rejected by a special committee at HBC.
Catalyst and the company’s other minority shareholders have resisted the Baker bid, citing disclosure issues and concerns that it undervalues the company’s real estate. However, a November appraisal from a real-estate evaluator found that the company’s flagship store in Winnipeg is worthless, and would cost more to demolish than the value of the land it sits upon.
Storch said it would be difficult to gauge the true value of the company with bricks-and-mortar retailers facing continued pressure from their online counterparts.
“It’s very difficult to figure out what the value of the real estate is versus the operating (costs of the) company,” he said, “and I know these pressures are going to continue on trying to operate a department-store retailer in this global environment.”