November 28, 2018 / 5:12 PM / 2 years ago

Activist investor Litt renews call for Saks Fifth Avenue sale

Nov 28 (Reuters) - Activist investor Jonathan Litt on Wednesday renewed call for the sale of the Saks Fifth Avenue brand, while asking owner Hudson’s Bay Co to make new board appointments, saying the company’s shares were undervalued.

Litt, the founder of hedge fund Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC, has criticized the Canadian department store owner in the past for underperformance and mismanagement.

Litt wants Hudson’s Bay to operate as a real estate company and sell off its retail investments.

"HBC's Board has an appalling track record, overseeing more than C$2 billion of shareholder value destruction with a 60 percent share price decline over the last three years," Litt said in a letter to Hudson's Bay shareholders.

In September, Chief Executive Officer Helena Foulkes said the department store operator will focus on turning around its underperforming divisions.

Litt has previously also flagged concerns over Executive Chairman Richard Baker’s $54.8 million pay package.

Land & Buildings owned a stake of nearly 5 percent in the company in July 2017 and has not provided an updated figure for its holding.

Litt said on Wednesday the company could see its share price “double or triple” if the management sold off Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and its remaining stake in Germany-based Galeria Kaufhof.

Hudson’s Bay did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Shares of Hudson’s Bay were trading up about 5 percent at C$8.23 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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