By Inside Retail Asia
Thailand’s Central Group is set to buy iconic London-headquartered department store group Selfridges for a reported US$5.3 billion.
The news – reported by multiple international news outlets, including Bloomberg – has not been confirmed by Central, or Selfridges’ current owner, the billionaire Weston family dynasty.
In June, the Westons confirmed they had been approached by a potential buyer. After that the family appointed Credit Suisse to advise on the future of the business and launched a formal auction in July, attracting interest from Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, among others.
At first glance, Selfridges’ and Central might seem like an unusual fit, but Central Group’s controlling Chirathivat family are estimated by Bloomberg to be worth more than $12.9 billion and the family has owned an up-scale department store operator in Italy, La Rinascente, since 2011. That company turns over more than $500 million annually and has 1700 employees. Central also owns Switzerland’s Globus luxury department store chain.
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