Hudson's Bay special panel says Chairman Baker's bid inadequate

(Reuters) - A special panel of Hudson's Bay Co HBC.TO reviewing a C$1.74 billion take-private bid, proposed by Chairman Richard Baker and a group of shareholders, said the offer was inadequate based on an initial analysis.

The Baker-led consortium, owning 57% of Hudson’s Bay, had offered to buy the struggling retailer for C$9.45 per share in June.

Shares have since surged more than 50% and gone past Baker’s bid, closing at C$9.79 on Thursday.

Activist shareholder Jonathan Litt in June had lambasted the bid as “woefully inadequate” and said the company was worth double the group’s offer.

He had also asked reviewing committee to hire an independent investment bank to evaluate the value of Hudson’s Bay’s real estate and retail banners.

The committee later hired TD Securities Inc to prepare a formal valuation of the retailer’s shares.

Meanwhile, Hudson’s Bay received another offer from private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group Inc to buy a near C$150 million stake.

The special committee on Friday said it was not in a position to make a recommendation on Catalyst’s offer to buy up to 14.85 million shares of Hudson’s Bay at C$10.11 per share.

Catalyst said it was “encouraged” by the committee’s initial analysis of the Baker-led bid, which it opposes.

The private equity firm said it was committed to working with the committee and Hudson’s Bay’s board to look at other options, such as a sale or using cash proceeds from the sale of the company’s European assets for dividends, to boost shareholder value.

The committee and its financial advisors expect to meet with representatives of various shareholders next week to discuss the buyout proposal and Catalyst Capital’s offer.

Reporting by Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shinjini Ganguli