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NRDC Equity Partners acquires Hudson's Bay Company
17
Jul '08
NRDC Equity Partners and True North Retail Investments, an affiliate of The InterTech Group Inc and the owner of Hudson's Bay Company (Hbc), announced the completion of a transaction in which NRDC Equity Partners acquired Hbc and consolidated its ownership of Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff, and Creative Design Studios (CDS) under a holding company called the Hudson's Bay Trading Company (HBTC).

Combined, these companies comprise more than US$8 billion in retail sales, 75,000 employees, and 55 million square feet of stores in the United States and Canada. Hudson's Bay Company, established in 1670, is North America's oldest continually operating company.

NRDC Equity Partners is investing US$500 million in new equity into the combined company. Richard Baker will serve as CEO of the Hudson's Bay Trading Company and will become the 38th Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.

NRDC has been a minority owner in Hbc in partnership with the Zucker Family and Baker has been a member of the board since 2006.

Richard Baker said, "By acquiring Hudson's Bay Company along with previous acquisitions Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to recreate the retail landscape in North America.

Enormous potential exists by upgrading the offerings at both The Bay and Zellers and by bringing Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff & CDS into the mix," he added.

The strategy of the combined company is to create a greater focus on The Bay department store business in Canada with an emphasis on the customer by offering better brands and better service.

In addition this acquisition will allow Canadian consumers to benefit from the following opportunities:
- Lord & Taylor, an upscale specialty retailer in the U.S., will be in a position to launch 10-15 stores throughout Canada. Currently there is a gap in the Canadian retail landscape between The Bay department stores and Holt Renfrew. Lord & Taylor stores will be ideally positioned to fill this consumer demand and will be located in prime locations through existing Hbc real estate properties or within existing flagship Bay stores.
- Zellers will see greater focus on branded apparel, improved customer service and a future roll out of new 125,000 square foot prototype stores.
- Fortunoff, a specialty jewelry and home furnishings store, will be in a position to introduce Fortunoff Jewelry Stores and Fortunoff Home Departments both within The Bay department stores as well as free- standing retail operations.
- Creative Design Studios, the design and manufacturing division, will expand its offerings and sell its branded collections throughout North America and internationally. CDS brands include Peter Som's eponymous collection as well as the Kate Hill and Context brands for women, and the Black Brown 1826 men's brand.
- Fields will continue to focus on delivering value-priced merchandise to Canadian consumers.
- Home Outfitters,Canada's fast growing home specialty store, will continue to offer customers unbeatable selection of brands and service in kitchen, bath and bed home furnishings.

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