Activists Win As Lord And Taylor Flagship Building Sold

25 October, 2017, 01:06 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
  • HBC to sell Fifth Avenue flagship Lord & Taylor store

Hudson's Bay Company announced today that it will sell its Lord & Taylor flagship in NY to office sharing company WeWork and Rhône Capital for $850 million (1.1 billion Canadian).

The Lord and Taylor building will continue to operate though the 2018 holiday season. As a part of the deal, Rhône will take a minority stake in the company, purchasing $500 million (632 million Canadian) in convertible shares. (TSX:HBC) is selling its Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue building in NY to a joint venture between WeWork and Rhone Capital in a deal valued at $1.075 billion.

Richard Baker, HBC's executive chairman and interim CEO, said Tuesday the deals will strengthen the retailer and "enable us to drive ongoing value creation". WeWork will convert most of the space in the 11-story landmark building into its headquarters.

According to a release from HBC, the transaction is expected to result in an aggregate of $1.6 billion of debt reduction and or incremental cash on the company's balance sheet - and an increase in total liquidity of approximately $1.1 billion, according to a release from the company.

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The retail group has been under pressure for some time to create value from some of its real estate holdings.

Litt, founder of hedge fund Land & Buildings, has valued HBC's real estate at C$35 a share, and has called for HBC to sell some stores, convert them to alternate uses or go private. The retail space will be reduced from 650,000 sq. ft.to 150,000 sq. ft. and will be confined to the bottom floors.

The deal is expected to result in debt reduction of $1.26 billion and liquidity of about $870 million in US dollars. It could also add 20 WeWork locations in HBC businesses around the world, Baker said. The department store was the first to create Christmas windows for sheer entertainment, rather than for selling merchandise.

As a co-working company, WeWork leases relatively small work spaces to freelancers, start-ups and other individuals and firms for shorter periods of time than traditional commercial landlords.

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