Thailand’s Central retail group, Signa to buy Selfridges

A general view of the Selfridges department store in London, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021. Thailand’s Central Group and Signa of Austria have confirmed plans to buy luxury British department store chain Selfridges. The deal, reportedly worth 4 billion pounds ($5.4 billion), adds to Central and Signa’s collection of posh retailers that includes Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Switzerland’s Globus and The KaDeWe Group in Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Central Group and Austrian real estate group Signa said Friday they plan to buy luxury British department store chain Selfridges.

The deal, reportedly worth 4 billion pounds ($5.4 billion), adds to Central’s collection of posh retailers that includes Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Switzerland’s Globus and The KaDeWe Group in Germany.

Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge and is controlled by the billionaire Weston family of Canada. The group owns 18 department stores including a historic property in London’s Oxford Street shopping district.

Central is the retail flagship of the Thai billionaire Chirathivat family. Selfridges is a nice trophy as it expands globally from its base in Thailand, where the retailing conglomerate owns many department stores and malls.

“We are looking forward to working with the management teams and the colleagues across Selfridges Group as we seek to create a world-leading luxury retail company,” Tos Chirathivat, executive chairman and CEO of Central said in a statement.

Signa Holding was founded by Austrian real estate investor Rene Benko. In 2019 it joined with RFR Holding to buy New York City’s iconic Chrysler Building.

W. Galen Weston acquired Selfridges in 2003. The company was offered for sale after he died in April.

His daughter, Alannah Weston, who is chairman of Selfridges Group, said the sale was the “successful realization of my father’s vision for an iconic group of beautiful, truly experiential, department stores.”

The acquisition took months of negotiations and is subject to regulatory approvals.

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