Harrods owner in the running to buy Selfridges
The Qatar Investment Authority, which owns luxury department store Harrods, is one of the parties in the running to acquire its rival Selfridges, which was put up for sale by its Canadian owners, the Weston family, earlier this year.
It was reported in July that the Westons, who acquired in 2003 for £538 million, have placed a price tag of £4 billion on Selfridges (which has four stores) along with its sister businesses Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada and De Bijenkorf in Holland. Around half of its valuation is said to come from property, including its Oxford Street flagship.
The Qatar Investment Authority acquired Harrods, which operates its historic store in Knightsbridge, an outlet in Westfield London, a store in Heathrow's Terminal 5 and along with newly opened H Beauty concepts in Milton Keynes and Lakeside, Esssex, for £1.5bn in 2010 from Mohamed Al Fayed. Al Fayed had owned the business since 1985.
Other potential suitors for Selfridges include the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, and Lane Crawford, Hong Kong's upscale department store, according to the Mail on Sunday. Selfridges managing director, Andrew Keith, who joined the business in November of last year, is the former president of Lane Crawford.
The sale of Selfridges is said to have been triggered by the death of the Weston family patriarch W Galen Weston in April. Weston's daughter Alannah is chair of Selfridges, having taken over from her father two years ago. She had been the creative force behind the brand since its was acquired by the family 18 years ago. Selfridges has declined to comment on the sale process, which is being handled by Credit Suisse.