Activist investor Land & Buildings Investment Management is planning to call for a special meeting of Hudson’s Bay Co. shareholders and is also considering a number of proposals, including the removal of directors from the HBC board.
Land & Buildings’ founder and chief investment officer Jonathan Litt has been pushing HBC to capitalize on its real estate for the benefit of shareholders. In a statement Monday, Litt said Richard Baker, executive chairman and governor of HBC, has been “stonewalling Land & Buildings and the investment community regarding a plan to unlock the value of the real estate embedded in the company.”
Litt said he will announce “the full slate of proposals” and next steps in the special meeting process shortly. Land & Buildings owns approximately 5 percent of Hudson’s Bay shares.
Litt also commented on Friday’s announcement regarding the departure of HBC’s chief executive officer Jerry Storch.
“It is typical for undervalued and struggling companies such as Hudson’s Bay to try to position the exit of top executives as a reason for investors to give them more time to right the ship — while choosing to ignore the fact that the true decision-makers and those at the board level who have been complicit in the decision making remain in power,” Litt said.
Litt cited a few other recent departures, including Paul Beesley, former chief financial officer, and Brian Pall, former president of HBC real estate.
Litt believes that HBC’s real estate is valued at three times the current share price of 11.96 Canadian dollars, or about 35 Canadian dollars.