Hudson’s Bay Co.’s special board committee has hired advisers to help evaluate a $1-billion take-private bid by the retailer’s executive chairman, and it pledged to consider criticism from minority shareholders.
The committee said it hired Toronto-Dominion Bank as independent valuator and Centerview Partners LLC as special adviser. It previously announced it had retained JPMorgan Securities as financial adviser and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP as legal counsel.
The board formed the committee of five directors to evaluate a $9.45-a-share offer from a group led by HBC executive chairman Richard Baker, announced in early June. The bidding group, which also includes such investors as Rhone Capital LLC and office-sharing company WeWork Property Advisors, has said holders of 57 per cent of the department store chain’s shareholders support the bid.
Minority shareholders including Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC, Catalyst Capital Group Inc. and Sandpiper Group oppose the bid, saying it represents a fraction of what HBC’s real estate in Canada and the United States is worth should it be sold. The retail operations have struggled in recent years, however.
Some investors have called on the board to launch a formal sales process and seek higher bids.
For the offer to be successful, it requires majority support from the minority shareholders.
“The committee acknowledges shareholders’ feedback expressing their perspectives about the proposed privatization transaction,” the directors said in a statement.
“The committee takes this input seriously and intends to review the transaction proposal carefully with the assistance of its legal and financial advisors and the benefit of the independent valuation.”
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