TORONTO, NEW YORK—Hudson's Bay Company has justsigned agreements with Indianapolis-based Simon PropertyGroup Inc. and Toronto-based RioCan Real EstateInvestment Trust to form two joint ventures focused onreal estate growth opportunities in the US and Canada,respectively. HBC operates hundreds of stores throughout the US andCanada under the brands Hudson'sBay, Lord &Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue andSaks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH.

“This is a transformational step for HBC,” RichardBaker, governor and executive chairman of theToronto-based company, said on a conference call today, “one thatfollows our strategy of unlocking the long-term value from ourunique real estate portfolio to better position our company forgrowth in both the retail and real estate businesses.”

The joint ventures are the fourth major step in that strategicprocess. In 2011, HBC sold its Zellers leases forC$1.8 billion. And last year it sold and leased back its flagshipQueen Street property in Toronto for C$650 million. Most recently,in November HBC announced plans for a US$1.25 billion, 20-year,interest-only mortgage on the ground portion of its Saks FifthAvenue flagship store at 611 5th Ave. in New York.

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.