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Thai firm Central lifts Selfridges stake amid co-owner’s financial crisis
15 November 2023

Thailand’s Central Group has become majority owner of Selfridges after taking equity in the department store giant from its crisis-hit co-owner.

The move comes after reports that a stake in Selfridges could be sold.

Last year, the billionaire Weston family completed the roughly £4 billion sale of Selfridges to a joint venture comprising Central and Austrian property firm Signa.

However, the future of the venture became uncertain after Signa – the property empire built by Rene Belko – called in restructuring experts in the face of a significant cash-crunch.

Benko was ousted from the business, which also had joint ownership of the Chrysler Building in New York, earlier this month amid talks to bolster its finances.

The Sunday Times reported that the sale of Signa’s stake in Selfridges was among options to provide the firm with cash to appease lenders.

Central Group was among the firms to provide its partner Signa with a loan.

On Tuesday, Central said it has now converted this loan into equity amid difficulties at the Austrian firm to repay its debts.

As a result, Central has taken some of its partner’s stake in the retail group, making it the majority shareholder.

It is understood Signa still holds a significant stake in Selfridges, which also owns Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland.

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