Thailand's Central Group takes full control of Selfridges

Central Group is a Thai multinational conglomerate consisting of subsidiaries in retail, property development, brand management, hospitality, and food and beverage sectors, has taken full control of department store chain Selfridges.

Central Group and Signa Group, the real estate company of Austrian billionaire René Benko, acquired Selfridges in 2021 in a deal worth around $5 billion. Signa however is facing an investor revolt and a property crisis in Europe, with Benko earlier this month handing control of the business to a restructuring expert.

Central Group, Thailand’s largest department store owner, has confirmed that it will take full control of the joint-venture which includes Selfridges – its four locations in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and its online operations – along with Brown Thomas & Arnotts in Ireland, and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.

The group, which is owned by the Chirativat family (ranked by Forbes as the fourth-richest family in Thailand), said that the takeover “solidifies” its position as the owner-operator of the largest European department store group.

The news out of Signa has also raised questions over a deal it reached last month with Frasers Group to sell sportswear retailer SportScheck. SportScheck, which operates 34 stores across Germany, was earlier this month reportedly on the brink of calling in administrators with Frasers said to be assessing whether the deal could be rescued.

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