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Liberty owner BlueGem considers sale of iconic store

Lauretta Roberts
12 February 2019

Private equity house BlueGem, the largest shareholder in Liberty, has appointed advisers to explore a possible sale of the iconic department store.

According to Sky News, UBS has been asked to source potential bidders. BlueGem bought Liberty for £40m in 2013 and is believed to be seeking £300m for the business now, though some believe it could be worth as much as £350m.

A year ago the store appointed Adil Mehboob-Khan as its new CEO replacing Ed Burstell, who had left the business in October 2016. Mehboob-Khan had previously been CEO at luxury eyewear group Luxottica and, upon his appointment, said the store had “significant global potential”.

BlueGem has invested heavily in the store, which is based just off London's Regent Street, with a major revamp of its menswear floor unveiled in 2017 and a remodelling of its womenswear departments.

The private equity house, which also has stakes in Jack Wills and Mamas & Papas, is believed to hold around a 40% stake in Liberty (though this has not been confirmed) and it's not clear whether the sale will involved the disposal of its stake in isolation or whether it would involve all of the share capital.

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