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A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today

On the rise

Shares of Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC-T) were up 7.6 per cent on Monday after private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group Inc. said it will buy about 10.05-per-cent stake in as it looks to block Executive Chairman Richard Baker’s $1.74-billion proposal to take the company private.

Catalyst said it would buy 18.5 million shares and that it would complete the cash purchase in three business days.

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See also: HBC special committee asks Richard Baker if he will revise $1-billion privatization offer before Catalyst deadline

Precision Drilling Corp. (PD-T) jumped 17.9 per cent after announcing before the bell a reduction to its 2019 capital expenditure plan.

The Calgary-based company also revealed board approval to implement a normal course issuer bid of up to 10 per cent of the public float.

Husky Energy Inc. (HSE-T) increased 5.1 per cent after an RBC Dominion Securities equity analyst suggested the Calgary-based energy company could explore going private.

Analyst Greg Pardy said: "If ever there was a time for Husky to consider going private, we believe it is now:

1. Husky is already a quasi-private company with well capitalized major shareholders owning 69.5 per cent of its common shares.

2. Going private would serve to capture much of the gap between Husky’s market value and our estimated base (2P) net asset value of $19.53 per share (and $14.08 per share under a stable US$60 WTI price).

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3. Husky would achieve 100-per-cent alignment with its controlling shareholders, with the flexibility to differentiate its strategic direction and tactics on the move without public market scrutiny."

Husky’s controlling shareholders could boost their combined ownership from 69.5 per cent to 100 per cent via a cash offer for Husky’s 30.5 per cent (306.5 million shares) minority interest (currently equating to $2.7 billion of market capitalization). The privatization of Husky’s common shares would eliminate a public valuation marker for the company’s controlling shareholders, which may be an important consideration.”

Slate Office REIT (SOT.UN-T) rose 1.2 per cent and Slate Retail REIT (SRT.UN-T) fell 0.4 per cent after a Globe and Mail report that the asset-management arm of Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is taking a minority stake in Toronto-based real-estate investment firm Slate Asset Management..

AGF Management Ltd. (AGF.B-T) was up almost 19 per cent after it issued a statement on Sunday in response to what it stated were media reports in the U.K. regarding a potential change to its investment in Smith & Williamson, a private client business based in the U.K.

“AGF confirms that Smith & Williamson, a company which AGF currently owns a stake in, is in exclusive discussions with Tilney regarding a possible merger of the two companies,” it stated. “While these discussions are ongoing, there can be no certainty these will lead to a transaction. As such, AGF does not intend to make any further press release or announcement regarding these matters unless and until a binding, definitive transaction agreement is reached.”

Estee Lauder Cos Inc. (EL-N) jumped 12.6 per cent as it forecast full-year revenue and profit above estimates, bolstered by booming demand for its premium skincare products and strength in its Asia-Pacific business.

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The company said its sales in the Asia-Pacific region grew 18 per cent in the fourth quarter. It expects full-year sales to grow in the range of 7 per cent to 8 per cent and adjusted profit to be between US$5.90 and US$5.98 per share in fiscal 2020.

Analysts had expected sales growth of 6.87 per cent and profit of US$5.81 per share.

On the decline

CannTrust Holdings Inc. (TRST-T) slid 3.6 per cent revealing Ontario government’s cannabis retailer is returning all of the company’s products it has because they do not conform with the terms of its master cannabis supply agreement.

See also: Struggle for control at CannTrust drew conflict in to the open, hastening crisis

With files from staff and wires

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