Marianne Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, Chain Store Age

The following news article posted April 12, 2022.

Hudson’s Bay Company has made a multi-million bet that the future of in-person work environments lies in flex or coworking spaces.

The owner of Saks, Hudson’s Bay and other retail banners along with the real estate of former Lord & Taylor locations, has acquired a majority stake in co-working office provider Convene in partnership with private equity group Ares Management Corp. and Convene shareholders. The investment is valued at about $500 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As part of the deal, Convene will operate HBC’s three SaksWorks flexible work, event, restaurant and meeting spaces, which are located inside Saks stores and currently managed by WeWork. The spaces will be rebranded as Convene. (Convene currently manages 23 flex office facilities.).  HBC will be the majority owner of the combined entity, with 26 facilities under management and dozens more under development. It is expected to be the largest premium flex space operator across the U.S., Canada and Europe.

“This strategic investment by HBC and Ares provides instant scale and growth opportunities for our business,” said Ryan Simonetti, co-founder and CEO of Convene. “We are excited to partner with HBC who is equally focused on delivering premium and flexible experiences to enable today’s distributed workforce.”

Read the full article.