Canada’s billionaire Weston family has agreed to sell luxury department store operator Selfridges to Thailand-based corporation Central Group, according to reports.
The Westons have been considering a sale of department store assets since receiving a $6.86-billion offer from a potential buyer for Selfridges Group earlier this year.
The assets up for sale include the high-end Selfridges department-store chain, Arnotts and Brown Thomas in Ireland and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, according to a source with knowledge of the matter – but do not include Canadian luxury chain Holt Renfrew, which is also under Selfridges Group ownership.
The Times of London initially first reported on the deal on Thursday.
Selfridges Group declined to comment.
Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The Westons’ private holding company, Wittington Investments Ltd., purchased Selfridges PLC for US$1-billion in 2003. It was among a number of acquisitions in luxury retail led by W. Galen Weston, who died in April. Mr. Weston first purchased a stake in Dublin-based Brown Thomas in 1971, and bought the entire business in 1983. He purchased Holt Renfrew in 1986.
Selfridges Group expanded under the Weston’s ownership with the acquisition of luxury department-store chain de Bijenkorf in 2010, and Montreal-based Ogilvy department stores in 2011. Mr. Weston’s daughter, Alannah, is currently chair of Selfridges Group. Son Galen G. Weston is Wittington’s controlling shareholder.
The Westons have shed other assets recently: Canadian company George Weston Ltd., which Wittington controls, recently reached two deals to sell its bakery operations, for a total of $1.57-billion. George Weston also has majority ownership of grocery giant Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust.
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