Ac­tivist in­vestor urges HBC to sell prop­erty hold­ings

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS TORONTO —

Hud­son’s Bay Co. is fac­ing height­ened calls from a U.S. in­vestor to sell off or oth­er­wise un­lock the value from its real es­tate hold­ings.

In a let­ter to the re­tailer’s board, Con­necti­cut-based Land & Build­ings In­vest­ment Man­age­ment said it’s con­cerned the com­pany has not heeded its call in June to max­i­mize share­holder re­turns by tap­ping into its prop­erty port­fo­lio.

The in­vest­ment firm says HBC’s prop­erty hold­ings are worth $35 a share — with the com­pany’s Saks Fifth Av­enue flag­ship store in New York alone worth $16 per share — com­pared with HBC’s clos­ing price of $10.60 Fri­day.

Land & Build­ings, which owns close to five per cent of HBC stock, said it was un­sat­is­fied af­ter a re­cent meet­ing with man­age­ment and threat­ened to call a special meet­ing of share­hold­ers to re­move board mem­bers if ac­tion isn’t taken on the prop­erty front.

The in­vest­ment firm has sug­gested HBC re­de­velop its prop­er­ties or go pri­vate, and urged the com­pany not to in­vest more in ad­di­tional re­tail brands like Neiman Mar­cus or Macy’s.

It also sug­gested HBC should sell Saks Fifth Av­enue.

HBC said in a state­ment that it wel­comes feed­back from all share­hold­ers and is com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing its re­tail op­er­a­tions and cre­atively un­lock­ing the value of its real es­tate hold­ings.

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