Canada’s Hudson’s Bay to buy Saks

NEW YORK — Hudson’s Bay Company has reached a deal to buy Saks Inc., in a deal that is expected to bring the luxury department store company to Canada. The Canadian retail conglomerate, which which operates Lord & Taylor in the United States and Hudson Bay in Canada, will purchase Saks for a total of about $2.9 billion. Purchase price includes $16 per share of Saks as well as the assumption of Saks’ debt.

"This exciting portfolio of three iconic brands creates one of North America's premier fashion retailers," stated Richard Baker, HBC's chairman and CEO. "I've had a long connection with Saks over the years, and am thrilled to bring one of the world's most recognized luxury retailers into the HBC family. This acquisition will increase our growth potential both in the U.S. and Canada, generate significant efficiencies of scale, add to our powerful real estate portfolio and deliver substantial value to our shareholders."

According to a joint press release, the acquisition will benefit HBC by introducing Saks as a full-line retail brand in Canada, which is currently the largest international market for saks.com. HBC will also continue expanding the Off 5th Saks outlet brand in the United States and expects to realize about $97 million in synergies in three years as a result of the acquisition.

Saks will operate separately under the HBC umbrella, including its own merchandising, marketing and store operations teams, and will remain headquartered in New York City. It is also expected that Saks will continue to be led by key members of its existing management team. HBC will leverage top talent across both organizations and optimize a multi-banner shared services organization to drive additional benefits and reduce expenses. HBC plans to bring Saks department stores and outlet stores into Canada by converting some of its own locations, according to Reuters.

"We believe this transaction delivers compelling value to our shareholders and that Saks Fifth Avenue is an excellent fit within the HBC organization,” said Steve Sadove, chairman and CEO of Saks. “We also believe that HBC recognizes the tremendous value of our people, our real estate, our customer and vendor relationships, and most importantly the power and potential of our iconic brand. The $16 per share price represents an approximate 30% premium to the May 20, 2013 closing price, the day before media speculation began. We have made significant progress over the past few years to position Saks for future growth and to evolve into an omni-channel retailer. We are excited about what this opportunity and being part of a much larger enterprise can mean for the future of the Saks Fifth Avenue brand."

There is a 40-day "go-shop" period when Saks can seek better bids, but the company said it did not expect to get any. The transaction has been approved by each company's board of directors and is expected to close before the end of the calendar year, subject to approval by Saks shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Previous reports indicated that Starwood Capital Group LLC, the investment firm headed by real estate developer Barry Sternlicht, had bid around $2.5 billion to purchase Saks and an unidentified third bidder, reportedly a sovereign wealth fund from the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, was also said to be in the running to buy Saks.