Hudson's Bay Co., the owner of Lord & Taylor and North America's oldest continuously operating retailer, plans to go public on the Toronto Stock Exchange by November in one of the biggest retailer offerings since the financial crisis began, according to reports Tuesday.
The New York Post reported that the valuation could be upwards of $4 billion, while the Wall Street Journal said the company was seeking 500 million Canadian dollars ($507.2 million) with a total valuation of $1.5 billion.
Toronto-based Hudson's Bay, which also owns the Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters, could trade up to nine times its $450 million annual earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), unnamed sources told the Post. Hudson Bay is preparing to offer 20 percent of the company, according to the Post.
It wasn't clear if the offering would include the 46 Lord & Taylor stores in the U.S., according to the Journal.
Hudson's Bay was originally incorporated under an English royal charter from Charles II in 1670, controlling the fur trade with Native Americans and acting as the government of a vast area around the bay of the same name before the establishment of colonies in what later became Canada.
The Toronto stock exchange has a relative dearth of retail stores compared to the NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq. The retail IPO market has also been slow. There were no retail public offerings between Titan Machinery Inc. (Nasdaq: TITN)'s market debut in December 2007 and October 2009, when the Vitamin Shoppe Inc (NYSE:VSI) went public.
Richard Baker, head of the real estate investment trust Retail Opportunity Investments Corporation (Nasdaq: ROIC), and the private mall landlord NRDC Equity Partners currently control Hudson's Bay.