Selfridges is reportedly up for sale – or at least the owners are exploring their options – after a previously unknown buyer approached the company with an offer, it was reported Friday.
The Weston family, which controls the company, are believed to be targeting £4 billion for the deal that cost them £598 million in 2003. Credit Suisse is reportedly acting as an advisor in the process.
The deal is not guaranteed and the family has not commented on the reports.
The group includes British department stores Selfridges, Irish department stores Brown Thomas and Arnots and Dutch department store De Begenkorf. It is not yet clear if the entire group will be sold, but the British and Irish branches are believed to be part of the negotiations.
React News first covered the news, noting that half of the £4 billion deal would go to the group’s real estate holdings, which include prime locations in major shopping centres.
The company recently experienced the most difficult 15 months in its 113-year history, after stores were forced to close for extended periods of time due to lockdowns and tourism brought to a standstill altogether. The result was job cuts.
However, the group’s profits have more than doubled since Westons took over, and sales have grown more than 80%. Sales for the past financial year (12 months before the pandemic) were £1.97 billion.
There is no evidence of the identity of the mysterious viewer, but it is possible that the approach came from outside the UK. Prestige stores in the UK have been popular properties for international bidders over the years, with Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Liberty now owned by global businesses.
Selfridges remains a valuable asset despite the troubles over the past year, and when tourism returns to normal, it becomes a magnet for international visitors.
The group is owned by the Weston family through Wittington Investments. A source familiar with the matter told the Financial Times that it was surprising the family had considered a potential sale, but the company’s heavy reliance on overseas tourism, which could take some time to recover, may be the reason behind the apparent desire to buy. talks.
The executive also said a sale to a sovereign wealth fund or a very wealthy individual was more likely than a private equity acquisition.
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