Selfridges owner begins formal auction process for £4bn sale
The Weston family has kicked off a formal auction process for Selfridges and has placed a price tag of £4bn on the luxury department store chain.
According to The Times, the Canadian owners have appointed Credit Suisse to send out information memoranda to interested parties, following news last month that an approach from an unknown prospective buyer had been received.
The Weston family took Selfridges private in 2003 in a £598m deal after seeing off rival bidders Sir Tom Hunter and Robert Tchenguiz. That deal was led by by WG Galen Weston, who passed away in April aged 80.
His daughter Alannah took charge of the Selfridges Group two years ago and has been the creative force behind Selfridges since the family took over.
The £4bn asking price is believed to include £2bn for the store's flagship site on London's Oxford Street. The Selfridges brand also owns two stores in Manchester and one in Birmingham and it is believed a sale would also include the Brown Thomas and Arnotts stores in Dublin.
Since news of the unnamed buyer was revealed speculation has mounted about their possible identity with French luxury conglomerate LVMH believed to be a contender. As well as owning a raft of global luxury brands from Louis Vuitton to Celine, it also owns historic Parisian department stores Le Bon Marche and La Samaritaine.
Others have speculated that buyers are likely to emerge from the Middle East with sovereign wealth funds, such as Adia, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, and the Qatar Investment Authority, have been named as interested bidders.
According to The Times report, the sale process is being run from North America by Robin Rankin, Credit Suisse’s co-head of mergers and acquisitions, who is advising Pavi Binning, now special adviser to the Weston family.
The Westons have continued to invest in Selfridges since they acquired it 18 years ago and the stores are known for their experiences and services with recent additions to Oxford Street including a cinema and a rooftop bar.
Former Lane Crawford executive Andrew Keith was appointed managing director of Selfridges last autumn – he formally joined the business in February – replacing Simon Forster.