The Central Group, the Thai owner of the Italian department store Rinascente, is exploring the possibility of taking over Selfridges. The British luxury department store chain has been up for sale since the summer.
The Central Group, controlled by the Chirathivat family, has expressed an interest in Selfridges and is preparing a potential takeover bid together with investment bankers Citi, according to Sky News. Selfridges was put up for sale earlier this year - with a reported asking price of four billion pounds - after an impromptu approach by an unknown buyer. Subsequently, the owners, the wealthy Weston family, decided to sell the department store chain through an auction.
It is unclear whether the party that made the initial bid is still in the running. After the summer, persistent rumours emerged that a Qatari sovereign wealth fund was in pole position for buying Selfridges. Reportedly, department store chain Lane Crawford also showed interest.
The sales process is likely to continue until early next year. In addition to the Britis operations of Selfridges, the Irish (Brown Thomas and Arnotts) and Dutch sister companies (de Bijenkorf) would also change owners.
If the Thai group's bid proves successful, it would also mark the return of Vittorio Radice, who successfully transformed the chain in the 1990s and is now a director at Central Group.