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Thai and Austrian groups buy Selfridges

Selfridges, a UK retailer run by a Canadian billionaire family in Weston, was purchased for $ 4bn by Thai conglomerate Central Group and Signa, an Austrian real estate company.

Thai and Austrian groups said Thursday that they had secured a sales agreement, set up by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1908, after months of negotiations with the Westons.

The Central Group, controlled by the Chirathivat family, is the largest supermarket in Thailand. Selfridges will be the first in the UK in addition to its own suite in top European stores, which include La Rinascente in Italy, KaDeWe in Germany, Globus in Switzerland, and Illum in Denmark.

Central signed last year with Signa in a 50:50 contract to buy Globus, and the two teams also own KaDeWe.

Signa is a real estate broker, retailer and journalist founded in 1999 as Immofina et al Rene Benko. Its properties – along with its European sales base – include Hotel Bauer in Venice and half of the Art Deco Chrysler House in New York, which bought last year for about $ 150m alongside RFR Holding. Its real estate around the world is worth more than € 24bn.

Ahead of today’s deal, people close to the retailers said that one of the biggest attractions in the Selfridges business is that the brand has its many stores in the UK and Ireland.

The agreement dissolves the Canadian branch of the Weston family in close ownership of 20 years of Selfridges. They acquired the business, which is best known for its London store on Oxford Street, in 2003 at a cost of £ 598m following a fierce battle against businessman Robert Tchenguiz.

Following the recent acquisition, Central Group and Signa retailers will have a combined annual revenue of € 5bn, depending on the pre-epidemic, the figure is expected to reach € 7bn by 2024, according to Thai and Austrian groups.

“As a family business, Central and Signa will focus on providing a unique and integrated store and digital experience for both locals and foreign visitors…. chairman and general chairman of Central Group.

The sale comes at a time when street vendors are experiencing a number of setbacks as consumers begin to shop online, which is becoming more and more epidemic. In the UK, well-known Debenhams dealers were forced to file a bankruptcy lawsuit, while employees John Lewis had to close several stores.

Alannah Weston, chairman of Selfridges and daughter of the late Galen Weston, who bought the UK store in 2003, said the deal was a testament to “her father’s vision of a well-known group of beautiful, knowledgeable retailers”.

“I am proud to offer a staff to new owners who are family businesses that take a long time,” he added.

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