Canada approves US buyout of HBC
Date: Monday, February 27 2006
Canada approves US buyout of iconic retailer HBC
Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:32 PM EST11
By Blaise Robinson
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's government gave its blessing on Thursday to the takeover of iconic retailer Hudson's Bay Co. -- a company two centuries older than the country itself and entwined with its history -- by U.S. investor Jerry Zucker.
A victim of foreign competition, many analysts had seen a foreign takeover of the company as only a matter of time. But retail consultant John Williams said it is a huge loss for Canada nevertheless.
"It's been around for more than 300 years. As the Bay grew, the country grew," Williams said.
"It laid the foundation of our economic growth as a country, and now it's being held by foreign investors."
Founded in 1670 as "the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay," Hudson's Bay Co. once held title to big chunks of northern and western Canada, with fur-trading posts spreading across the country, offering European goods in exchange for Indian beaver pelts.
Those trading posts gave birth to some of the country's major cities. In 1870, the company transferred most of its lands to Canada, and its trading posts became one of the country's biggest department store chains.
On Thursday Canada's industry and heritage ministers gave the green light to Zucker's Maple Leaf Heritage to acquire Hudson's Bay, removing one of the last hurdles before the C$1.1 billion ($957 million) acquisition closes.