Hudson’s Bay to review options, including privatization, after activist pressure: report

Hudson’s Bay Co, the owner of the Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord Taylor retail chains, is seeking to carry out a review of its options, including going private, following pressure from an activist shareholder, people familiar with the matter said.

Hudson’s Bay, which is already working with an investment bank to defend itself against activist hedge fund Land and Buildings, has been seeking to hire another financial adviser to carry out the review, the people said this week.

The review will consider all available options, from the possibility of the company going private to potential sales of retail assets and real estate, the sources said, cautioning that no transaction is certain.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

“As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on rumour or speculation,” a spokesman for HBC said in an email to CBC News.

Shares of HBC shot up on Friday following the report. On the TSX, the company’s stock was up more than 12 per cent, rising to $1.22 to hit $11.25.

Land and Buildings, which owns almost five per cent of HBC, has pushed the retailer to extract value from its real estate holdings. In July, the hedge fund has put forward a plan calling for HBC to revamp its Fifth Avenue flagship location by shrinking the department store and redeveloping the property. The fund has also pushed HBC to exit its European operations and return to its Canadian roots.

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