By Roxanne Bildan Okay, drum roll please. Two of the best retail companies are about to converge. The Hudson’s Bay company is buying luxury U.S. entity Saks Inc. in a friendly deal worth US$2.9 billion. The Toronto-based HBC says it will pay $16 US per Saks share plus assume all the outstanding debt as part of the deal. After months of rumors, HBC aims to maintain Saks as a separate unit headquartered in New York, but will plan to introduce the Saks brand in Canada through online and other required areas. Nothing is set in stone just yet as the Canadian company is said to face some competition from at least one other potential buyer for Saks. In a release addressing the issue, HBC’s Chief Executive Officer Richard Baker reassures, “While we serve different markets, we have a lot in common.” HBC already holds The Bay and Lord & Taylor so the addition of Saks would catapult the company to its culminating status. “This exciting portfolio of three iconic brands creates one of North America’s premier fashion retailers,” adds Baker. Saks runs 43 stores, including its home base Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Meanwhile, HBC has 48 Lord & Taylor department stores across the U.S. and in Canada as well as 90 Bay department stores in Canada alone. Saks in Canada will be the prime weapon for HBC to use in the country’s high-end retail war. Nordstrom is expected to launch a number of locations within the year and the arrival of a dignified name such as Saks could help HBC immensely. CEO of Saks, Steve Sadove, said in a joint statement that, “We believe that HBC recognizes the tremendous value of our people, our real estate, our customer and vendor relationships and most importantly, the power and potential of our iconic brand.” Being Canadian and a Saks fan myself, I cannot be happier. It seems the (fashion and retail) industry is growing—so many exciting endeavors to look forward to. All I’m saying is—go Canada, go!