Saks Inc. stock was active Thursday, amid continued speculation that a deal may happen soon and that private equity firm Sycamore Partners could enter the bidding for the luxury chain in tandem with another party.
There were also reports that Saks and Hudson’s Bay Co., which is bidding on Saks, had hired additional banks for advice.
Shares of Saks closed down 0.2 percent, or 3 cents, to $15.18 Thursday in heavy trading. Over 4.5 million shares traded hands, well above the 2.7 million average for the past three months. The company ended the day with a market capitalization of $2.2 billion and the stock has proven to be volatile as investors bet on whether the company will ultimately be bought out. RELATED STORY: Major Saks Stakeholder Sells Block of Shares >>
It could not be determined who Sycamore could be partnering with, but sources said it could be Starwood Capital, which is mostly interested in Saks’ real estate and is said to be bidding for Saks against Hudson’s Bay, operator of Lord & Taylor in the U.S. and Hudson’s Bay in Canada. Hudson’s Bay could purchase Saks on its own or choose a partner to minimize risk.
Sycamore is considered a smaller private equity but the firm’s manager director and cofounder, Stefan Kaluzny, is well-connected. “He’s not big enough to go after Saks alone but he can pick up the phone and call anyone,” said one financial source. Sycamore’s holdings include The Talbots Inc., Hot Topic and a 51 percent stake in Mast Global, a sourcing firm. At Talbots, Sycamore has also brought back certain former members of the retailer’s executive team to engineer its turnaround.
Sources on Thursday also said KKR & Co. had renewed its interest in Saks after considering buying Saks and merging it with rival Neiman Marcus in May. Neiman’s, however, shot down that idea at the time. A KKR spokeswoman declined to comment. “If there is a [sale] process going on, you can be sure KKR is going to take a look,” said the source.
The DealReporter on Thursday wrote that Hudson’s Bay retained Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise on a bid for Saks and that Saks is working with Morgan Stanley in addition to Goldman Sachs on strategic alternatives.
The sovereign wealth fund from Qatar, which this year bought Printemps in Paris and in 2010 purchased Harrods in London, has been interested in Saks, but this week financial sources suggested the Qatar group would only make a run for Saks if the share price in a deal was in the $15 to $16 range, and would bow out if the price jumped to $17 a share or higher. These individuals said the Qataris aren’t necessarily interested in a play for just a trophy asset, and are not about to overpay. The same is said to be true about Hudson’s Bay.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion