Selfridges owners, the Weston Family, are reportedly in talks with the Qatar Investment Authority over a potential £4bn sale of the department store chain.
The Mail On Sunday has reported that sources close to negotiations said that the sovereign wealth fund has moved to the front of the queue for the 112-year-old department store – however, it is believed they are yet to enter into exclusive talks.
This could yet pave the way for a rival bidder, with the rumoured list of interest parties including the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, Hong Kong-based Lane Crawford and the Hudson Bay Company.
The news comes after it was revealed in July that the Weston family had reportedly started a formal auction process to find a buyer for the department store.
According to The Times, the Weston Family appointed advisors Credit Suisse to handle the distribution of information memoranda to help encourage prospective buyers with aims to complete a deal by the end of the year.
The pandemic had a significant impact on the company’s most recent results as for the year to February 2020 Selfridges sales increased 7% to £1.97bn, but operating profits fell 10% to £88m for the same period.
Moreover, annual pre-tax profits fell to £34m from £98m, even before the pandemic had taken place, due to new accounting rules of leases.