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HBC Writes Final Chapter in Take-Private Saga as Baker Replaces CEO

Hudson’s Bay Co. Inc. has completed the protracted struggle to become a private company, and the deal has current CEO Helena Foulkes preparing to step down from her position at the helm.

HBC shareholders last week approved the take-private plan, whose terms calls for HBC’s common shares to be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange at Wednesday’s close of trading. The shares, excluding those owned by certain continuing shareholders, are being exchanged for a cash consideration of 11.00 Canadian dollars ($8.25) per common share.

The continuing shareholders are part of a consortium to take the company private led by HBC executive chairman Richard Baker, who will take on the responsibilities of CEO when Helena Foulkes vacates the post on March 13.

“The continuing shareholder group is resolved to doing what is right for our customers, associates, communities and partners. As current and future generations change the way they live, shop and work, we are committed to transforming HBC to capitalize on these shifts,” Baker said, adding that “patient capital and a long-term view [is needed] to fully unleash HBC’s potential at the intersection of real estate and retail.”

A real estate expert who acquired the Lord & Taylor department store chain in 2006 for $1.2 billion, Baker subsequently acquired Hudson’s Bay, the flash-sale business Gilt Group and Saks Fifth Avenue along the way to build the HBC portfolio. HBC has since exited its European business and joint venture deals and sold Gilt and L&T.

“The company and I are grateful for Helena’s leadership and significant accomplishments over the last two years. Together, we have simplified our company, strengthened retail operations and reinvigorated our focus on the customer. Each of our businesses is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in their unique markets and we are optimistic about this exciting new chapter for our company,” Baker added.

Foulkes joined HBC in 2018 from CVS Health Corp. She was president of its pharmacy division at the time, and succeeded Gerald Storch, who left HBC in 2017. During her tenure, she has worked to streamline the core businesses, with a focus on improving the operations of the Hudson’s Bay and Saks nameplates.

“I want to thank the entire HBC team for their trust and dedication over the past two years as we worked to transform the company. We made bold moves to streamline the business, modernize our marketing, seize digital opportunities, bolster our senior leadership team and empower each of our retail businesses to excel in the future,” Foulkes said.