Thailand’s Central Group has acquired a majority stake in luxury department store group Selfridges. This appears to ensure continuity despite the financial difficulties of former co-owner Signa.
The investment company of Thailand’s billionaire Chirativat family has acquired a majority stake in the (former) joint venture that owns Selfridges Group, following the conversion of a loan into shares. This gives the fund control of the group, which in addition to Selfridges also includes luxury department stores Brown Thomas & Arnotts in Ireland and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.
The deal is not unexpected: Signa has been struggling with financial difficulties for some time and CEO René Benko had to step aside recently under pressure from investors. A restructuring expert was tasked with bringing the group back to financial health, a process that includes divesting some investments.
Signa and Central Group acquired Selfridges last year for 4.6 billion euros. They also jointly own well-known luxury department stores such as Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, KaDeWe, Oberpollinger and Alsterhaus in Germany and Globus in Switzerland. In addition, Signa also owns German department store group Galeria. Belgian department store chain Inno, a subsidiary of Galeria, has recently been put up for sale to lower Galeria’s (and Signa’s) debts.