Exclusive: Lord & Taylor owner Hudson's Bay's bid for Macy's stumbles - sources

Fri Mar 3, 2017 11:24am EST
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By Lauren Hirsch and Carl O'Donnell

(Reuters) - Canada's Hudson's Bay Co (HBC.TO: Quote), owner of the Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue retail chains, has yet to line up equity financing for a bid for Macy's Inc (M.N: Quote), over a month after approaching its U.S. peer, people familiar with the matter said.

Hudson's Bay's challenges in putting together a firm offer are a blow to the ambitions of its majority owner and Executive Chairman Richard Baker, who built a retail empire relying on real estate financing as much as his knowledge of the retail sector.

Macy's is skeptical that Hudson's Bay can raise the necessary financing for its bid, and it is not currently engaged in any negotiations about a possible deal, the sources said this week.

To mount a credible offer for Macy's, which has a market capitalization of close to $10 billion, Baker has been seeking to raise equity and debt financing for Hudson's Bay, which has a market value of C$2.2 billion ($1.64 billion), the sources said.

However, Hudson's Bay's existing equity partners, including mall operator Simon Property Group Inc (SPG.N: Quote), have been reluctant to back Hudson's Bay's bid for Macy's, which would require them to invest more money in mall real estate, even as consumers continue to abandon them in favor of internet shopping, the sources added.

While Hudson's Bay has told potential partners it has the backing of at least one wealthy family willing to help finance its bid for Macy's, it has not yet found a major institutional investor to serve as an equity partner, the sources said.

Although Hudson's Bay is still trying to put together a bid, it may decide to pursue another acquisition target, or put a takeover effort on hold, the sources cautioned.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Macy's, Hudson's Bay and Simon Property Group all declined to comment.   Continued...

A customer exits the Macy's flagship department store in midtown Manhattan in New York City, November 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid