The deal is done: the British Selfridges Group has been acquired by a consortium comprising Thailand’s Central Group and Austria’s Signa Holding. This creates a major European department store group, with several iconic properties in the Benelux, Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
Strong European group
The Weston family, now-former owners of Selfridges, have been wanting to sell the department store group – also including the Dutch group De Bijenkorf – since this summer: the death of the passionate businessman Galen Weston was said to have prompted the decision. The reported asking price was 4 billion pound (4.7 billion euros).
Now the new owners have been announced: a consortium of two well-known investors in the department store sector. The Thai Central Group, which also owns luxury department stores such as Rinascente, KaDeWe and Illum in Europe, has joined forces with Signa Holding, the investment fund of Austrian businessman René Benko, which owns the German department store chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof (including Belgian INNO).
Both investors also took over Swiss department store chain Globus last year, creating a large and strong European department store group. The aim is to raise the group’s pro forma annual sales to more than 7 billion euros in 2024, according to the press release. The new owners want to develop an integrated and attractive omnichannel offering, with exclusive and leading online shops as an extension of the physical stores.