Target Canada gets OK to sell 11 stores back to landlords Ivanhoe Cambridge, Oxford Properties

Oxford Properties Corp. and Ivanhoe Cambridge have received court approval to buy back the leases on 11 Target Canada locations.

Fight still brewing over how to allocate proceeds from sale in bankruptcy proceedings

Target Canada has court approval to sell 11 stores back to landlords Ivanhoe Cambridge and Oxford Properties. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Oxford Properties Corp. and Ivanhoe Cambridge have received court approval to buy back the leases on 11 Target Canada locations.

An Ontario judge approved the transaction today as part of Target Canada’s bankruptcy process, but will not release terms of the agreement until Friday.

The deal covers 11 locations in shopping centres owned by Oxford and Ivanhoe, who are among a group of Target landlords.

Landlords had wanted to regain control of the properties in a bid to lure high-quality tenants as the U.S. retailer pulls out of Canada.

This deal represents only a small part of Target Canada’s real estate portfolio, which includes 137 leasehold retail stores, three owned retail stores, three owned distribution facilities, the leased Mississauga headquarters, 10 office suites, and six warehouse facilities.

Who gets the money?

Target Canada announced in January that it would shut all 133 of its Canadian stores because it couldn’t expect to make a profit here in the next five years.

Still to be decided is whether Target Canada will be able to benefit from a deal it made to grab a $1.9 billion claim on its leases from a property company it created to hold its real estate assets.

The setup makes Target Canada the biggest creditor in its own bankruptcy proceedings.

Suppliers are fighting Target Canada’s $1.9 billion claim in court on Thursday, saying it would eat into any settlement they might claim from the insolvent company.

For Ivanhoe and Oxford to complete a deal to buy back the leases, the property company will have to relinquish its hold and a court will have to determine how the proceeds will be allocated.

 "This has to be a very full, transparent process not run by Target Canada," said Justice Geoffrey Morawetz of Ontario Superior Court .

He added that "creditors have to be satisfied" that claims made by Target's former property company have gone through a vetting process.

With files from the Canadian Press

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