Activist investor wants Hudson’s Bay to tap into its real estate potential

Jonathan Litt says the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue should follow in Macy’s footsteps, or sell to them

TRD New York /
Jun.June 21, 2018 06:00 PM

Jonathan Litt and Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City (Credit: Getty Images)

It’s been almost a year since Jonathan Litt, founder of hedge fund Land & Buildings, pleaded for retail giant Hudson’s Bay Company to change its ways.

The activist investor is at it again, asking the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue to look into new ways to improve shareholder value. Specifically, he wants it to sell off some of its real estate, Bloomberg reported.

In a letter to shareholders, Litt said Hudson’s Bay could learn from its rival, Macy’s Inc., which has been unloading many of its stores, after steadily declining sales. Macy’s stock is up 50 percent this year as a result of its latest real estate deals, he added. Meanwhile, Hudson’s Bay stock has ticked up just 4 percent so far this year.

“One could even reasonably ask whether the most logical course for HBC at this point would be an acquisition by Macy’s as opposed to trying to play catch up,” wrote Litt in the letter released Thursday. His firm owns a 6.2 percent stake in Hudson’s Bay.

Hudson’s Bay stock price was around $11.70 per share, though Litt contended the company’s real estate alone is worth $31 per share.

Amid a decline in stock price, the Canadian retailer has been exploring different ways to turn the tide.

Earlier this month, the company announced the closure of its flagship Lord & Taylor store at 424 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, after selling the building last year to WeWork and Rhone Capital for $850 million. It also recently sold its online shopping site Gilt. [Bloomberg] — Natalie Hoberman

Related Articles

An example of roll-off waste management (Credit: YouTube, iStock)

Big building owners prevent city from dumping container-pickup in trash-collection reform

“I can talk about erections all day”: NAR tech consultant’s bizarre fireside chat

Retail ruh-roh: Mall REITs take hit following Forever 21 bankruptcy

For mall owners like Simon, Brookfield and Vornado, Forever 21 bankruptcy signals more trouble ahead

Council member Vanessa Gibson (Credit: New York City Council)

Commercial landlords face new fines as City Council passes anti-harassment bill

As House begins impeachment inquiry, here’s what we know about Trump’s Ukraine-real estate ties

Embattled Prodigy Network CEO Rodrigo Niño to step down

Clockwise from top left: 35-00 48th Street in Astoria, 558 Broadway, 63 Madison Avenue, and 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn (Credit: Google Maps, Wikipedia, LoopNet, and Williams New York)

These were the top 10 NYC retail leases in August