Ontario securities regulators said Wednesday they will hold a hearing into a complaint by Catalyst Capital Group over a takeover bid for Hudson’s Bay Co.
A three-member Ontario Securities Commission panel ruled that Catalyst has legal standing to request an OSC review of a $1.1-billion privatization bid led by HBC executive chairman Richard Baker.
That means Catalyst will have an opportunity to persuade the OSC to block Mr. Baker’s offer or postpone the shareholder vote, which is scheduled for Dec. 17.
It is a win for Catalyst, a Toronto-based private equity fund led by financier Newton Glassman, and for other dissident shareholders unhappy with the Baker offer.
Catalyst, which owns 17.5 per cent of HBC shares, has said it is willing to pay $11 per share for HBC, higher than Mr. Baker’s offer of $10.30 apiece.
However, Mr. Baker has locked up support from shareholders controlling 57 per cent of HBC’s stock and the group will not consider an alternative plan.
The centuries-old company is facing a rapidly changing retail environment with the growth of e-commerce and discount stores.
HBC, which operates its namesake brand along with luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, reported declining sales and a wider loss in its recent quarter, as well as stable profits and a slowing cash burn.
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