Canada’s billionaire Weston family is considering a potential sale of some of its department-store assets in Britain and Ireland, after a £4-billion ($6.86-billion) offer from a potential buyer for Selfridges Group.
The discussions, which are in the preliminary stages, involve the high-end Selfridges department-store chain, and could also involve other chains such as Arnotts and Brown Thomas in Ireland, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the source because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the issue.
Assets outside of Britain and Ireland – such as Canadian luxury department store Holt Renfrew, which is also held by the Selfridges Group parent company – are not part of the offer, according to the source.
Both Selfridges Group and Credit Suisse declined to comment.
The Westons’ luxury retail business was expanded under the leadership of W. Galen Weston, who died in April. Mr. Weston purchased a stake in Dublin department store Brown Thomas in 1971 and bought the entire business in 1983. He also purchased Holt Renfrew in 1986.
The family’s private holding company, Wittington Investments Ltd., purchased Selfridges PLC for US$1-billion in 2003. Selfridges Group went on to purchase luxury department-store chain de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands 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.
Selfridges is not the only asset that Wittington is considering selling: Canadian parent company George Weston Ltd. , which Wittington controls, announced earlier this year that it was putting its Weston Foods bakery business on the block, in order to focus on its real estate holdings and retail operations. George Weston Ltd. also holds majority stakes in grocer Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust.
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