MONTREAL — The Hudson’s Bay Co., Canada’s oldest company, is facing a hostile takeover bid from American financier Jerry Zucker.
Zucker, who already owns 18.8 percent of the retailer’s stock through his Maple Leaf Heritage Investments Acquisition Corp., offered $12.50 a share, or about $935 million, for HBC, which also includes the Zellers discount chain and Home Outfitters.
All figures have been converted from Canadian dollars.
Zucker’s bid sent the stock up 21 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday to close at $13.05 which could trigger a bidding war among other investors. The stock reached a high of $13.40 Monday before closing at $13.17.
Maple Leaf first approached HBC management in August 2004 about a possible takeover but was rejected. Zucker has been disappointed with the firm’s performance in the last few quarters, a Maple Leaf spokesman said. He decided to submit a bid when HBC said on Oct. 6 that it was looking for a possible buyer for its lucrative credit card division, which pushed the stock down.
HBC issued a release on Friday saying “the board will make a recommendation to shareholders and advise the market accordingly.”
The retailer was founded as a fur trading company in the 17th century. It now operates 98 department stores, 298 Zellers general merchandise stores and 47 Home Outfitters kitchen, bed and bath super stores.
Zucker purchased Dominion Textiles here in 1998 through his Polymer Group Inc. He resigned as chief executive officer of Polymer in 2003.