September 5, 2012 / 1:32 AM / 6 years ago

Hudson's Bay Canadian unit looking at IPO: WSJ

Pedestrians walk past a Hudson's Bay store in downtown Ottawa July 16, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) - The owner of Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Co has hired banks to explore an initial public offering of the firm’s Canadian department stores to raise about C$500 million ($506.9 million), the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

About a third of North America’s oldest company will be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in October or November, which would give the firm a valuation of around C$1.5 billion, the newspaper said, citing the person familiar with the matter.

Richard Baker, chief executive of HBC, had earlier floated the idea of taking the company public when market conditions are right, but had not announced specifics.

The Bay, HBC’s retail store banner in Canada, has been swapping out brands, pushing to improve customer service and hosting high-profile celebrity fashion events at remodeled downtown stores.

The Bay and Lord & Taylor have been operating as side-by-side affiliates since Baker’s U.S.-based private equity group, NRDC Equity Partners, bought HBC in 2008. It already owned Lord & Taylor.

Hudson’s Bay Co did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

($1 = 0.9865 Canadian dollars)

Reporting By Aurindom Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Michael Urquhart

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