Kering among investors said to be eyeing Selfridges stake

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Given that both Kering and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund are rumored to be interested in purchasing a stake in Selfridges, the Signa difficulties may be advantageous.



The French owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent is reportedly one of the major players around the upscale department store in the wake of co-owner Signa’s stunning collapse, according to The Telegraph.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering investing as well, according to the newspaper, which cited “City sources.” On the report, none of the parties involved have offered any comments.

Given that it controls half of Selfridges’ real estate company, the opportunity was provided by the collapse of Austria’s Signa. However, those same sources stated that “Selfridges is in play… [but] the sale process is complicated by proceedings in Austria,” suggesting that the transaction might take a while.

Notwithstanding the difficulties, it’s said that the other co-owner of Selfridges, Thailand’s Central Group, is looking for a new partner for the real estate company that owns the Oxford Street, London, property and the Selfridges retail brand.

Two years ago, when the Weston family listed the company for sale, the Saudi Arabian fund expressed interest in it. Since the Qatar Investment Authority owns Harrods, if it is successful this time, it would imply that a second Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund would hold one of London’s most prestigious luxury establishments.

Since Saudi Arabia’s PIF funded Signa’s investment, the company has already been participating. That might work to its favor in the event of a bidding battle.

However, Kering is rumored to be interested as well, so it won’t have the field to itself, and the French luxury behemoth has enormous financial resources. The company, which is valued at €52 billion and is traded on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, also owns Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, among other names. Its extensive real estate holdings include the 5th Avenue structure that houses the Gucci flagship store in New York. The property was purchased for $963 million.

According to the publication, “a banker familiar with the matter” had made the observation that Central Group will play a significant role in the selling process and may even act as the “kingmaker.”

It’s likely that bids, which might total up to £2 billion, won’t start until after Signa completely collapses.

In 2021, Selfridges’ entire business was acquired by Central and Signa for a total of £4 billion. However, the business is divided between the running firm, which they both jointly owned, and the previously stated property company. Signa still owns about 35% of the running firm, but Central has recently converted a loan into equity, taking control of it. Each of the two partners still owns 50% of the real estate company.

Ethan Sullivan

Ethan's penchant for the pulse of the fashion world extends to covering lifestyle topics, offering readers a seamless blend of the latest style updates and lifestyle trends.

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