Selfridges eyes £4bn sale

Department store chain Selfridges is reportedly seeking buyers at a valuation of over £4 billion.

The decision, which Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse is advising on, follows an unsolicited approach from an unknown potential buyer, according to React News.

The department store chain, which was established in London in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, was acquired by Canadian billionaire Galen Weston for £598 million in 2003.

The Weston family, who have a combined wealth of around £11 billion according to the Sunday Times Rich List, also control Primark.

According to sources that spoke to the real estate news website, the sale will also cover its Irish business – where it trades under the brand names Arnotts and Brown Thomas – as well as its entire UK business, including it’s 600,000 square feet flagship Oxford Circus store in Central London.

Selfridges’ property assets alone are valued at around £2 billion.

The negotiations are still at an early stage and may not ultimately lead to a deal, according to the report, clarifying that sale to a sovereign wealth fund or private investor was more probable than a private equity deal.

Selfridges experienced reduced footfall throughout the pandemic, as tourists and office workers shunned town centres. The chain revealed plans last August to cut 450 jobs because of annual sales expectations coming in as “significantly less” than 2019 due to the pandemic.

Group managing director Anne Pitcher said 2020 was “the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”.

In May, the department store acquired a wedding licence which means it can host ceremonies on its grade II listed building on Oxford Street for part of 2021.

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