10/17/2012 12:59 EDT

Hudson's Bay IPO: Retailer Makes Comeback To Stock Market After 6-Year Absence


TORONTO — The Hudson's Bay Co. is going to make a return to the stock market.

The retailer, which is Canada's oldest company, says it has filed a preliminary prospectus for an initial public offering of its shares.

"The offering is being made through a syndicate of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets, CIBC and BofA Merrill Lynch who will act as joint bookrunners,'' the company said in a brief statement.

The owner of The Bay department stores last traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2006 before it was taken private by U.S. businessman Jerry Zucker.

New York-based NRDC Equity Partners, owner of American department store chain Lord & Taylor, acquired the company in 2008.

The company sold leasing rights last year on more than 200 Zellers locations to U.S. retailer Target in a move that was seen by some as a prelude to an initial public offering.

The company has made efforts to revitalize its Bay stores with the introduction of high-end boutique spaces in its flagship Toronto store as well as obtaining the rights to produce uniforms and merchandise for Canada's Olympic athletes.

The retailer also hired former Holt Renfrew executive Bonnie Brooks as president and chief spokeswoman for The Bay.

The initial public offering comes as the company gets set to face increased competition, not only from Target next year, but also chic U.S. retailer Nordstrom, which is opening of its first four Canadian stores in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver starting in 2014.

Hudson's Bay was founded in 1670 and is the oldest commercial corporation in North America. Through its early days in the fur trade, the company historically controlled huge tracts of land and was involved in a wide range of enterprises.

In modern history, the company has been focused on retailing through several several brands.

The company has been in the process of shutting down its Zellers brand but continues to operate Home Outfitters stores as well as its flagship Bay chain.

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