Selfridges to be sold to Thai retail giant for £4bn

UK retailer Selfridges is set to be sold to Central Group, a Thai conglomerate, for £4bn ($5.3bn) as it looks to expand its presence across the globe.

The luxury department store has been owned by the Weston family, one of Canada’s richest families, for the last 18 years. They have agreed sale terms with the group, according to the Times.

A deal could be made by the end of the year, although it may drag into next month.

Although the financial terms of the deal are not yet clear, it is believed to include Selfridges’ property assets, which have been valued at £2bn.

The Westons’ put the chain up for sale earlier in June this year, following the death of British-Canadian billionaire Galen Weston, who oversaw the department store’s move from public to private in 2003.

The family control Selfridges through Wittington Investments Ltd in Canada, which is separate from the UK arm which also owns a large stake in Primark-owner Associated British Foods (ABF.L).

The company, which owns 25 outlets, posted sales of almost £2bn in the year to February 2020, according to the latest figures at Companies House.

It was founded in 1908 by US retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge. It has flagship stores in London, Birmingham, and Dublin, as well as in Canada and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Central Group is also family-owned. It was established in Bangkok and opened its first department store in 1956. It has since expanded to 3,700 shops around the world, from supermarkets to electronics stores, as well as outlets in Europe.

Central Group’s non-executive director Vittorio Radice ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and has been managing a department store in Italy since 2006. He also spent time at British supermarket chain Marks and Spencers (MKS.L) in the past.

Yahoo has reached out to Selfridges for comment.

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