Jun 21, 2019
Teachers’ exits Hudson’s Bay as takeout tension escalates
Ontario Teachers' exits stake in Hudson's Bay
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has sold its entire position in Hudson’s Bay Company more than a week after deciding not to sell its shares to the company’s chair, according to multiple sources.
This comes at a time when HBC Chair Richard Baker is trying to win support for his shareholder-led buyout of the 349-year-old retailer. His offer is facing pushback from activist investor Land & Buildings, among others, who called the offer of $9.45 per share “woefully inadequate”.
A representative for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan declined to comment when reached by BNN Bloomberg.
It is unclear to whom OTPP sold its stake, however sources say there was no single buyer and that multiple parties stepped up to buy the nearly 18 million shares Teachers’ owned. OTPP first invested in HBC in 2013 when it helped to finance the acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Shares of Hudson’s Bay lost nearly 42 per cent of their value over the past year as a turnaround at its department stores failed to take hold.
Despite value in the company’s real estate holdings, investors have focused on slumping sales at its flagship store. Comparable stores at Hudson’s Bay Company fell 4.3 per cent in the most recent quarter. Meanwhile, sales plunged 17 per cent at Lord + Taylor, which is the subject of a strategic review by HBC. Saks has been a relative bright spot for the company with sales increasing eight per cent over the past two years.
Baker’s proposal to buy Hudson’s Bay represents a nearly 50 per cent premium to where the stock closed the day before the announcement was made. The offer, which is led by Baker and other investors holding 57 per cent of HBC’s stock, is 68 per cent below the stock’s all-time high and 45 per cent below its IPO price.
The share sale by OTPP was also reported Friday afternoon by Bloomberg News.