Hudson's Bay Co. has been sold to a new American owner, NRDC Equity Partners, the parent of upscale U.S. chain Lord & Taylor.

HBC's first American owner was South Carolina businessman Jerry Zucker, who bought the venerable retailer in January 2006 for $1.1 billion. Zucker died of cancer in April.

While the value of the deal hasn't been publicly disclosed, representatives for the Bay and NRDC have said it's "slightly" higher than the initial sale price of $1.1 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, NRDC — which has 47 Lord & Taylor stores in the United States — would launch 10 to 15 of the stores in Canada. They will be located in existing Bay stores or in other HBC real estate.

The companies said they see a gap in the Canadian retail landscape between the Bay and Holt Renfrew, where they believe Lord & Taylor will fit.

NRDC already owned about 20 per cent of HBC, and NRDC's chief executive officer, Richard Baker, is on the board of the 338-year-old company. Baker will become the 38th governor of HBC.

NRDC, which is based in Purchase, N.Y., also owns Fortunoff, a U.S. jewelry and home furnishings chain of stores, and clothing design firm Creative Design Studios.

"By acquiring Hudson's Bay Co. along with previous acquisitions Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to recreate the retail landscape in North America," said Baker.

Hudson's Bay Co. owns the Bay, Zellers Home Outfitters and the Fields chains of retail outlets.

NRDC will invest $500 million US in new equity in the combined company.

Zellers will receive a greater focus on branded apparel, improved customer service and the rollout of new 125,000-square-foot prototype stores.

With files from the Canadian Press