Feb 25, 2015
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HBC to form real estate joint ventures in U.S., Canada

Feb 25, 2015

TORONTO, Canada - Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay said on Wednesday it had agreed to form two real estate joint ventures that would bring in about C$1.1 billion in cash, reducing its debt, and paving the way for an initial public offering or alternate transaction.

The company announced separate joint ventures with two real estate investment trusts, or REITs, U.S.-based Simon Property Group Inc and Canada's RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust.

Hudson's Bay

HBC will contribute real estate assets, signing long-term leases so it can continue to operate its stores. The REITs will invest in the new ventures in return for equity stakes. HBC valued the U.S. joint venture at $1.8 billion, and the Canadian venture at C$2 billion ($1.61 billion).

The joint ventures, structured to allow for a potential initial public offering or sale, will scout for real estate growth opportunities in Canada and the United States.

"By partnering with industry leaders, we have created two tremendous real estate vehicles for growth," said HBC Chief Executive Richard Baker, in a release. "Importantly, we have retained the flexibility to create REITs at a future date of our choosing."

Under the agreement with RioCan, HBC will contribute 10 owned or ground-leased properties into the new joint venture, including its flagship properties in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, and Montreal.

A centuries-old company with roots in the fur trade, HBC owns U.S. department store chains Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson's Bay department stores in Canada, and Canadian housewares chain Home Outfitters.

C$1 = US$0.80 / £0.52

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