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NRDC gets fashionable in retail deal

The New York-based private equity real estate firm led by Apollo partners Bill Mack and Lee Neibart has acquired Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada’s largest retailer. NRDC is now hoping to expand its previous retail acquisition, the prestigious Lord & Taylor chain, into Canada.

NRDC Equity Partners has acquired Canadian oldest retailer Hudson’s Bay Company for an undisclosed sum. Hudson’s Bay – established in 1670 – is Canada’s largest retailer, with 580 outlets in the country.

NRDC already owns the upscale clothes store Lord & Taylor, jewelry and housewares shop Fortunoff and manufacturing company Creative Design Studios, which it will consolidate with Hudson's Bay in a new company known as Hudson’s Bay Trading Company. It previously held a minority stake in Hudson's Bay in partnership with the Zucker family.

Lord and Taylor has 47 stores in nine states in the US, including the famous flagship store on Fifth Avenue. In a statement, NRDC said it planned to expand the Lord & Taylor brand into 10 to 15 Hudson's Bay department stores.

NRDC, founded by Apollo Real Estate Advisors partners William (Bill) Mack and Lee Neibart together with former National Realty & Development Corporation executives Richard Baker and Robert Baker, acquired Hudson's Bay from True North Retail Investments. The sale is believed to have been prompted following the death of Hudson's Bay chief executive officer Jerry Zucker earlier this year.

In total, Hudson’s Bay Trading Company will now cover more than 55 million square feet of stores in the US and Canada and generates $8 billion (€5 billion) in retail sales. NRDC were unavailable for comment.

The Purchase, New York-based private equity firm is investing $500 million in equity in the holding company, which will be led by NRDC partner Richard Baker. NRDC was previously a minority owner in Hudson’s Bay Company in partnership with the Zucker family. Baker has been a member of its board since 2006.  

NRDC also announced key appointments for the company including Francis Casale as chief financial officer of HBTC, Donald Watros as chief administration officer and Brian Pall as president of the HBTC property company.

NRDC Equity Partners is a private equity real estate firm targeting the retail, leisure, lodging, and commercial real estate sectors.