Report: Hudson’s Bay In Talks To Buy Neiman Marcus

Image courtesy of Phillip Pessar/a>

A month after Saks Fifth Avenue and Gilt parent company Hudson’s Bay was reported to be sniffing around Macy’s, the high-end retail giant is now apparently moving on to more luxurious pastures, with news that it is considering a purchase of newly available Neiman Marcus.

Neiman Marcus announced Tuesday that it had begun the process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives, that could include the sale of the company or other debt restructuring options. The move comes nearly a year after the company was first rumored to be sniffing around for a buyer. 

News of a possible sale quickly led to speculation of just who might be waiting to snap up the luxury department store company, which operates 42 Neiman Marcus stores, two Bergdorf Goodman locations, and 27 Last Call clearance centers.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that Neiman Marcus is currently in talks with Hudson’s Bay about a possible buyout that would reportedly exclude Neiman’s $5 billion in debt.

To do this, the source says that company could use a structure that wouldn’t trigger a change in control, meaning Neiman would still be liable for the debt.

A rep for Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay declined to comment on the rumored talks to Bloomberg, but said that in general the company would “selectively evaluate opportunities to accelerate the company’s strategic growth while maintaining or enhancing its credit profile.”

A possible sale or other strategic alternative move comes as Neiman, like other retailers, has struggled to attract customers to its brick-and-mortar stores in the face of online competitors like Amazon.

On Tuesday, the retailer revealed its second quarter results in which the company reported total revenues of $1.40 billion, representing a decrease of 6.1% compared to total revenues of $1.49 billion for the second quarter of fiscal year 2016.

The company’s move to seek out strategic options comes just weeks after it announced it had hired investment bank Lazard Ltd. to explore debt restructuring options.

Neiman Marcus said at the time that it will “routinely retain consultants and advisors to evaluate opportunities to create long-term value for our associates, customers and other stakeholders and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Back in January, Neiman Marcus withdrew its initial public offering, which it announced it would seek in May 2015.