Thailand's Central eyes Selfridges buy - report
Thailand-based Central Group is one of the companies interested in bidding for Selfridges, a report said on Thursday. Interestingly, Central also owns La Rinascente, the Italian department store of which ex-Selfridges CEO Vittorio Radice is Vice-Chairman.
Sky News said it has learnt that Central is among a number of parties interested in buying the luxury department store business and is working with investment bankers at Citi on a possible deal, although there's still no guarantee that the group will bid.
Central is controlled by the Chirathivat family and its connection to Radice raises the prospect that he could return to Selfridges in some capacity. He may have some kind of involvement in any bid and in future strategy if such a bid was successful. He left Selfridges in 2003, but was a crucial player during his time there in the store targeting growth through a bigger focus on luxury.
Sky also suggested that any bid for Selfridges by Central could involve other investors.
The UK department store was put up for sale earlier this year with speculation that the asking price was around £4 billion. There have also been suggestions that the Qatari owners of rival London department store Harrods is interested in bidding.
But we're unlikely to hear any news quickly with reports suggesting that the bidding process could continue into next year, although it's entirely feasible that one of the interested parties could win the prize before then.
Selfridges hasn't detailed exactly what would be involved in any sale, but it's believed that as well as its UK operations, it would include the stores it owns in the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. The Canadian business it owns – Holt Renfrew – isn't believed to be part of the process.
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