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HBC stock resumes trading after halt, shares surge more than 22%

TORONTO — Shares of Hudson’s Bay Co. were briefly halted Tuesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange after volatile trading activity triggered a regulatory safety mechanism.

The trading halt was issued at 9:52 a.m. ET as a result of a single-stock circuit breaker, which is enacted in order to ensure fairness in the market, according to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

HBC shares opened at $8.38 and quickly shot to $10.09, a gain of more than 22 per cent, before falling back to $9.40.

The company’s shares resumed trading at 9:57 a.m., and closed at $9.88, up 20.93 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

HBC is in the midst of a months-long proxy battle between a group led by executive chairman Richard Baker and a dissident shareholder group that opposes Baker’s plan to take the company private.

Catalyst Capital Group, a minority shareholder that controls about 17.5 per cent of HBC’s common shares, recently initiated an OSC hearing seeking to block the Baker-led bid, or require the retailer to amend its circular. Catalyst alleged HBC made several misrepresentations in the paperwork.

HBC postponed on Dec. 16 a shareholder vote on a Baker’s takeover offer for $10.30 per share after the Ontario Securities Commission ruled HBC must amend the circular, while Catalyst threatened to “take additional steps” if the retailer failed to reconsider its offer of $11 per share.

The company has been recommending shareholders approve the transaction.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2019.

The Canadian Press