Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) said last week that it won shareholders’ approval to become a private company owned by the group of continuing shareholders led by HBC Governor and Executive Chairman Richard Baker. Other shareholders will get CA$11 ($8.23) per share in cash in the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including court approval. The move concludes an eight-month fight between the company's top shareholders and Baker and a group of allies. The deal was backed by 98.28 percent of all shareholders and 94.46 percent of common shareholders, a company spokeswoman said. HBC expects the process to be completed on or around March 3, when it will exit the Toronto Stock Exchange. Total Retail reported on Jan. 3. that HBC had entered into an agreement with a group of existing shareholders led by Baker to purchase HBC common shares held by the company’s minority shareholders for $11 Canadian dollars per share. At the time, it planned to hold the special meeting of shareholders to approve the privatization transaction in February.
Total Retail's Take: As we've mentioned before, going private makes sense for HBC, which owns the Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Saks Off Fifth retail brands, which have been saddled with challenges common to today's traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. The oldest company in North America now gets a chance to work out a plan to lure shoppers back at a time of intense online competition, without the expectation of quick results from public markets.