Sak's owner Hudson's Bay inches closer to going private

A little more than four months after a group of shareholders from Hudson's Bay Company -- which owns Saks Fifth Avenue -- announced plans to take the company private, a deal appears to be possibly in the offing.

Reuters reported late Tuesday that the offer has been "sweetened" to $1.5 billion for the iconic Canadian retailer to go private. Hudson's Bay Executive Chairman Richard Baker along with Rhone Capital LLC, WeWork Property Advisors, Hanover Investment SA and Abrams Capital Management are leading the bid.

In June, Baker made it clear that the move to leave the public markets was for the best survival of the company. "We believe that improving (Hudson's Bay's) performance will require significant time and patient long-term capital that is better suited in a private company context without the emphasis on short-term results and returns."

The offer still needs to be approved by a majority of the shareholders not affiliated with Baker's group including the private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group Inc, which owns 16 percent of the retailer.

The company, which has its roots in the Canadian fur trade in the 17th century and is the oldest company in North America has had a rough time in the 21st century. It recently sold the venerable Lord & Taylor chain in the U.S. and in Canada has been winding down the business of the Zeller's stores


Given the recent financial struggles of WeWork it will bear watching if Hudson's Bay and the office sharing outift can continue with its grand plan first announced in 2017 which WeWork said was "an opportunity to partner with HBC across its 61 million sq ft global real estate portfolio and an opportunity to attract new members through desirable locations associated with premium retail," according to a press release issued at the time.