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Report on Business Catalyst Capital discloses 16 per cent stake in Hudson’s Bay amid retailer’s privatization bid

Catalyst Capital Group Inc. has amassed a 16-per-cent stake in Hudson’s Bay Co. as the Toronto-based private-equity firm seeks to stymie a privatization bid from the retailer’s executive chairman.

Catalyst said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that it controls 29.4 million HBC shares following a tender offer for $10.11 a share it completed last month. The firm, led by financier Newton Glassman, spent $187-million on the stock, which added to a position it had previously purchased.

HBC executive chairman Richard Baker is leading a $1-billion bid to take the company private, and his group, including Rhone Capital LLC, office-sharing company WeWork, the Abu Dhabi government’s investment vehicle and U.S. investment firm Abrams Capital Management, controls 57 per cent of the shares outstanding. A special committee of the HBC board has yet to issue its formal response to Mr. Baker’s $9.45-a-share proposal, but it already said it believes the offer to be inadequate.

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For the bid to be successful, a majority of the minority shares must be voted in favour, and Catalyst’s increased position makes that prospect look more remote, at least at the price proposed. The Baker plan remains a proposal at this stage and a vote will not be scheduled until an offer is formalized.

Other minority shareholders, including investment firms Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC and Sandpiper Group, have come out in opposition to the privatization, saying it vastly undervalues the worth of HBC’s real estate holdings.

HBC is scheduled to release its second-quarter results and host a conference call on Thursday. Its shares closed up 1.3 per cent at $9.95 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

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