HBC reaches agreement with activist investor on Rhône deal: Reuters

Canadian luxury retailer Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC) said on Friday it reached an agreement with shareholder Land & Buildings, under which the U.S. activist hedge fund investor would withdraw its appeal against the conditional approval given for an investment by Rhône Capital.

HBC, which owns the upscale Saks Fifth Avenue department store brand, in October received a US$500 million ($632 million) investment from U.S. private equity firm Rhône in the form of eight-year mandatory convertible preferred shares. Land & Buildings head Jonathan Litt said the investment was not in the best interests of minority shareholders.

The agreement helps ease tensions that have escalated since the deal was announced, with Litt seeking to prevent a final approval of the investment by the Toronto Stock Exchange, and HBC accusing Land & Buildings of misleading investors.

Land & Buildings, which owns about 5 percent of HBC, is pushing the department store operator to monetize its real estate and sell Saks Fifth Avenue in an effort to turn around the business, which is facing a brutal retail market.

As a concession to Litt, the Toronto-based company said that if it issues new shares in a way that triggers a price protection feature available to Rhône for a year as part of the deal, it would do the issuance as a rights offering available to all its investors on a pro rata basis.

Hudson’s Bay shares were up 1 percent at 12:46 p.m., compared with the S&P 500 retail index’s 0.6 percent decline, and the Toronto stock ’s 0.16 percent drop.

By Nichola Saminather

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Jonathan Oatis)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)