TORONTO — Hudson’s Bay Co. needs to be free of its shareholders to make long-term improvements, its executive chairman declared this week. Richard Baker is part of a majority group of shareholders looking to buy out the remaining 43% stake and take the historic company private. With the support of co-working firm WeWork, which acquired key real estate from HBC in 2017, the group is making an all-cash offer of $9.45 per share, almost 50% more than their closing price at the end of last week.
“While we continue to believe in HBC’s long-term potential, it has become clear that the significant challenges, risks and uncertainties facing HBC in the rapidly evolving retail environment are best addressed in a private market setting,” Baker said. “Our all-cash proposal would provide HBC’s public shareholders the ability to realize immediate and certain value for their shares at a substantial premium … We believe that improving HBC’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.”