Department store Selfridges has been sold in a £4billion deal to retailer Signa Holding and Thai property company Central Group.
A statement released on Friday by the group said the acquisition would ‘create one of the world’s leading omni-channel luxury department store groups’.
The sale was made for £4 billion and includes 18 department stores across England, the Netherlands and Ireland.
They will become part of the combined Central and Signa portfolio of department stores which includes Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Globus in Switzerland and The KaDeWe Group in Germany and Austria.
Central Group, controlled by the Thai Chirathivat family, and Austrian real estate specialists Signa Group, will take control of Selfridges in a 50-50 joint venture.
It is understood they have beaten off a raft of rival bids, including from the Qatar Investment Authority, which owns Harrods.
The deal with the Westons will include the retailer’s four UK stores – two in Manchester, one in Birmingham and its flagship site on London’s Oxford Street – as well as 14 other shops including Arnotts and Brown Thomas in Ireland.
Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge. W Galen Weston bought the flagship Oxford Street Selfridge store in 2003 and formed the Selfridges Group in 2010.
It comes after a tumultuous period for the British high street after the collapse of major retail groups including Debenhams, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins.
Selfridges Group chairman, and W Galen Weston’s surviving daughter, Alannah Weston said the acquisition was ‘testament to the successful realisation of my father’s vision for an iconic group of beautiful, truly experiential, department stores’.
‘Creative thinking has been at the heart of everything we did together for nearly twenty years and sustainability is deeply embedded in the business.
‘I am proud to pass the baton to the new owners who are family businesses that take a long-term view.
‘I know they will fully embrace that vision and continue to empower our incredible team to take the Group from strength to strength.
The Central Group opened Thailand’s first department store in 1956 and now has roughly 3,700 stores around the world.
Its’ non-executive director Vittorio Radice ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and has been managing a department store in Italy since 2006.