Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC.TO) is exploring the possibility of closing some of its namesake department stores in Canada, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans. HBC is also actively looking to restructure some of its leases with store landlords.
HBC’s deliberations behind the scenes come as executive chairman Richard Baker leads a $1.74-billion bid to take the company private amid mounting pressure from shareholders to improve performance.
“There are no sacred cows,” according to the source, who did not want to be named and said a range of Bay stores are potential targets for restructured lease agreements.The source added that while HBC is exploring possibilities for its stores, there is no guarantee strategic changes will be made.
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(For Globe & Mail Subscribers) Private-equity company Sandpiper Group has joined the list of Hudson’s Bay Co. shareholders opposed to a $1-billion privatization offer, giving added momentum to the deal’s critics.
Vancouver-based Sandpiper, which focuses on property investments, has taken an activist role in a number of public real estate companies. Several HBC shareholders have come out against the $9.45-a-share proposal led by HBC executive chairman Richard Baker, saying it grossly undervalues the retailer’s properties, including Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and its namesake store in downtown Vancouver. However, to realize the value, the assets must be sold and that raises questions about the remaining operations.
A Sandpiper official confirmed the company’s opposition to the bid, but declined to speak about the matter beyond that. Its founder, Samir Manji, has previously said HBC could be worth at least $35 a share...