TORONTO — Hudson's Bay Co. says European retailer Signa Holding has withdrawn its offer for the company's German operations following a unanimous decision by the Canadian retailer's board of directors to reject the bid.
HBC says Signa's proposal was not in the best interest of its shareholders and significantly undervalued the overseas business.
The retailer announced last November that it had received the unsolicited offer from Signa for its German department store chain Kaufhof and other real estate assets.
HBC acquired Kaufhof in 2015 as part of a $3.2-billion deal that included Belgium retailer Galeria Inno.
Activist investor Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC had urged HBC to "seriously consider" the Signa bid, which it valued at $4.49 billion.
HBC's management had been under pressure for months last fall from Land & Buildings, which had argued the retailer's shares were undervalued.
HBC interim CEO Richard Baker says the company's European business and related real-estate assets represent critical components of its long-term strategy and that it continues to have a high degree of confidence in its ability to drive results across its banners.
"Our diverse European real estate holdings add significant value to our global real estate assets and we remain committed to creating opportunities to improve the productivity of our portfolio," Baker said in a statement.
HBC, like other department stores, has been struggling in a shifting retail landscape in which consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping. Last summer, the company announced it was cutting 2,000 jobs.
On Monday, the retailer appointed Helena Foulkes as chief executive, effective Feb. 19. Foulkes was most recently executive vice-president at CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy, a position she held since 2014.
She will be responsible for HBC's global strategy and operations for all banners, overseeing more than 66,000 associates worldwide across more than 480 stores, e-commerce platforms, supply chain, logistics and technology.
Companies in this story: (TSX:HBC)
The Canadian Press