Activist Litt Renews Calls for Board Changes at Hudson's Bay

(Bloomberg) -- Activist investor Jonathan Litt is renewing his calls for change at Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Co., saying he intends to talk to fellow investors about calling a special meeting to elect new board members.

"We believe Hudson’s Bay could see its share price double or triple if the company takes the necessary steps to maximize long-term shareholder value," Litt said in a letter to shareholders Wednesday.

A representative for Hudson’s Bay didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Litt’s Land & Buildings Investment Management has been advocating since June 2017 for changes at the Toronto-based retailer, including calling for it to sell off its Saks Fifth Avenue brand and to explore ways to unlock the value of its real estate. He reiterated his call for the company to sell Saks in the letter Wednesday. He also said it should sell its remaining interests in Galeria Kaufhof in Germany and the Lord & Taylor brand.

The company should also pursue a real estate investment trust structure for its Canadian real estate and sublease its excess space, Litt said.

Hudson’s Bay has taken several steps to unlock the value of its real estate in recent months, including selling its flagship Lord & Taylor building in Manhattan, selling part of its European business, and modifying the lease on a store slated to be closed in Vancouver.

Litt said the company trades at a discount to the value of its real estate, which he said is worth C$31 a share based on Hudson’s Bay’s estimates. Changes are needed at the board level, he said, adding that he is working with an unnamed former Hudson’s Bay executive who would likely join a slate of directors he would put forth.

"Over the coming weeks, we intend to speak with shareholders about adding fresh perspectives to the board and calling a special meeting to effect immediate change on the board," he said.

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