HBC confirms negotiations with Signa but refutes rumors of a binding agreement
Canadian retail group Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) responded to reports that it had agreed to sell half of its European business to Austria’s Signa Holding GmbH on Friday, confirming that the two companies were in talks but denying that a definitive agreement had been reached.
“While HBC does not generally comment publicly on market speculation or rumors, in light of recent media reports, HBC believes it is prudent to advise stakeholders that it is in discussions with SIGNA Holding GmbH and has signed a non-binding letter of intent with respect to the exploration of a potential joint venture,” the statement clarified, emphasizing that no binding agreement to sell part of HBC’s European business had been signed.
The statement went on to highlight that any future deal would be subject to further analysis and the approval of the company’s Board of Directors, as well as a number of conditions beyond the group’s control, including consent from third parties and due diligence.
Rumors of a proposed joint venture between the two companies, which would bring together two major German department stores, namely HBC’s Kaufhof and Signa-owned Karstadt, first came to light at the end of last month, and on Wednesday, July 4, reports surfaced that a definitive agreement had been signed.
At the time, the Wall Street Journal stated that Signa would pay 1.1 billion euros to acquire around half of HBC’s European business and would also assume some 750 million euros in debt as part of the agreement.
Signa previously made an unsolicited bid to acquire Kaufhof towards the end of last year, an offer which was rejected by Hudson’s Bay.
HBC stated that it would not be making any further comments on industry speculation unless required to do so by law.
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