Hudson's Bay Co. (HBC) is working with Bank of America Corp. (BAC) to defend itself in a prospective proxy fight against activist investor Jonathan Litt, TheStreet has learned from a source with knowledge of the deal. HBC declined to comment.
The Canadian retailer, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, will review its options to stem the decline in its share price. Litt, under his hedge fund Land and Buildings Investment Management LLC, is pushing for Hudson's Bay to monetize its real estate assets.
"Hudson's Bay is a real estate company," he told TheStreet on Tuesday. "We believe its real estate is worth more than what the stock is trading."
Land and Building has owned a 4.3% stake in the company for nearly a year.
Hudson's Bay's most valuable asset, Litt said, is the Saks flagship store at 611 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan. The space alone is valued at $3.7 billion, according to a 2014 appraisal.
The retailer is looking for another financial adviser to work on the review, Reuters reported Friday. Neither Bank of America nor Hudson's Bay responded to requests for comment.
A frequent player on Hudson's Bay deals is Gordon Caplan, a partner at of Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP. Caplan advised the company last year when it sold $50 million of equity to Madison International Realty, as well as the $250 million purchase of of Gilt Groupe Holdings Inc. from General Atlantic LLC.
According to FactSet Research Systems Inc., Bank of America has been involved with one activist campaign this year.
Since 2013, Litt has pursued 18 activist campaigns.
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