Thailand’s Central Group days away from closing £4bn deal for Selfridges, sources say

Joint venture set to acquire group that owns Brown Thomas and Arnotts stores

Thailand's largest department-store owner, Central Group, is just days away from closing a £4 billion (€4.7 billion) acquisition of the Selfridges retail group, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

An official announcement could be made as early as Thursday, the sources said. Selfridges owns the Brown Thomas and Arnotts department stores in Ireland.

British retail publisher Drapers reported that a sale had been agreed with Central and Austrian real estate company Signa Group, who are understood to have formed a joint venture.

The current owners of Selfridges, Canada’s Weston family, agreed terms with Central at about the end of November, according to a report in The London Times newspaper on December 2nd.

The Thai group’s main department store unit, Central Retail Corp Pcl, would have the right to take a partial stake in Selfridges but was still considering, one of the sources added.

Central Group did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. Selfridges did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, has had a presence in Europe since 2011. Last year, it bought Swiss luxury department store Globus and other real estate assets in a joint venture with Austria's Signa for $1 billion.

It also owns Italy's La Rinascente, Denmark's Illum and KaDeWe in Germany. In Asia, it operates supermarkets in Vietnam. – Reuters