Hudson’s Bay Co. investors are betting Richard Baker goes higher — and more are actively pushing him to boost his offer to take the Saks Fifth Avenue parent private.
Shares of HBC inched up 0.4 percent to 9.94 Canadian dollars Tuesday — well above the buyout price of 9.45 Canadian dollars per share that Baker and other shareholders offered up last month. The offer values HBC’s stock at 1.7 billion Canadian dollars, or $1.28 billion.
Baker is executive chairman and architect of the modern Hudson’s Bay, and the group he is a part of already owns 57 percent of the firm. They propose using the proceeds from the pending sale of the company’s German business to help buy out the other shareholders.
But the stock price indicates that investors expect the actual purchase price to go higher.
Now Toronto-based Catalyst Capital Group is charging in and this week offered to scoop up more than 14.8 million shares of HBC at 10.11 Canadian dollars apiece, a total offer of 150 million Canadian dollars. That’s a 7 percent premium to Baker’s offer.
“Catalyst believes that the insider buyout proposal greatly undervalues the company across each of its real estate, retail and iconic brand attributes,” the investor said. “The controlling insiders are only using shareholder capital and assets to buy out the company’s minority owners at a price which Catalyst believes is not at all reflective of fair value.”
The investor said it would use the stock it controls to vote against the buyout.
Activist Jonathan Litt of Land & Buildings Investment Management already called the buyout offer “woefully inadequate” and asked the special committee of the board that’s evaluating the offer to consider other options.
Litt pushed for the committee to use a “robust strategic alternatives process, given the iconic nature of HBC’s real estate that would attract a deep potential buyer pool” and to hire “a truly independent investment bank” to evaluate the value of firm’s real estate and retail businesses.