Canada's Hudson's Bay makes takeover approach for Macy's

A man walks past the Hudson's Bay Company sign in Toronto on Feb. 4 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Nathan Denette

A man walks past the Hudson's Bay Company sign in Toronto on Feb. 4 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS Nathan Denette

Hudson's Bay Co has made a takeover approach to US department store chain Macy's Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, causing shares to rise.

The early-stage discussion between retail giants comes amid January reports that discouraging sales numbers prompted Macy's decision to close around 100 stores. For Hudson's Bay, a deal could add another marquee name to its portfolio, which includes Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.

Macy's has faced declining sales while it struggles with the impact of online shopping on its stores.

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According to the Journal's Dana Mattioli, Suzanne Kapner, and David Benoit, the talks are preliminary and a deal is not assured. Outgoing CEO Terry Lundgren had allegedly been working to prevent significant disruptions in the company's board while fielding several acquisition offers.

Buyout wildcard: It might be unlikely that Macy's stakeholder Starboard Value would back a deal in the mid-$30s due to the firm's high estimation on the value of Macy's real estate.

Macy's, which also owns the upscale Bloomingdale's chain, has a market value of $10 billion, which would make it a big bite for HBC, whose market value is just under $2 billion.

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The Canadian retailer was acquired in 2008 by NRDC Equity Partners, headed by Richard Baker. The joint ventures, which would scout for global opportunities, was another move by HBC to bring value to its lucrative real estate assets portfolio.

Since Smith's July 2015 purchase, shares of Macy's have cratered by almost 60%.

Since the story broke, Macy's stock has climbed 5.17%. The activist investor has also pushed the retailer to unlock the value of its real estate assets.

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