With real estate portfolio on the line, Canadian pension plan throws a wrench in Hudson’s Bay privatization plan

The sale comes just one week after Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan rejected Hudson's Bay Company Chairman's offer to buy its stake

Hudson’s Bay Chairman Richard Baker (Credit: Getty Images)
Hudson’s Bay Chairman Richard Baker (Credit: Getty Images)

As Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor parent company Hudson’s Bay mulls what to do with its retail real estate portfolio, a Canadian pension plan threw a wrench in the company chair’s plan to take the retailer private.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan sold all of its 18 million shares in Hudson’s Bay Company to multiple unnamed investors, Bloomberg reported. The sale comes just days after the pension spurned attempts by Hudson’s Bay Chairman Richard Baker to buy its stake. The parent company of luxury retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor has seen particularly steep decreases at its flagship store, Lord & Taylor, where sales fell 17 percent.

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Baker’s effort to take the company private is facing some resistance from activist investor Jonathan LItt’s Land & Buildings and others, who have decried the $9.45 per share offer, calling it “woefully inadequate,” Bloomberg reported. The move puts a further wrinkle in Baker’s plans to take the 349 year old retail company private amid declining share prices: Hudson’s Bay shares lost almost 42 percent during the past year.

In preparation for the $1.3 billion deal to go private, the Canadian company announced earlier this month it is looking to close 15 of its Saks Off 5th stores and four Lord & Taylor stores. Hudson’s Bay is also reportedly considering the selling the entire Lord & Taylor brand, while Baker is making inquiries with landlords about buying back leases. [BNN Bloomberg] — Georgia Kromrei