Pure Beauty

Selfridges faces potential sale as co-owner Signa Group plunges into financial crisis

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 6-Nov-2023

Shareholders for the Austrian real estate company successfully ousted its chair and founder René Benko last week

Selfridges is facing a potential sale after its co-owner Signa Group revealed it is currently in a financial crisis.

The Austrian real estate company has brought on insolvency specialist Arndt Geiwitz to help it raise money, after being hit with rising borrowing costs and a fall in property valuations.

Signa Group and Thai multinational conglomerate Central Group acquired the department store chain for £4bn in 2021.

Previously owned by the Canadian billionaire Weston family, the sale to the Thai and Austrian companies was first unveiled in 2020.

Central Group may be poised to acquire the remaining shares in the company if a sale is put on the table, a report by The Sunday Times claimed.

A spokesperson told the British Sunday newspaper that the current situation “does not change anything” for Selfridges, however.

“Selfridges trades independently of any support from its shareholders,” the spokesperson continued.

“Aside from Selfridges in London, Signa's portfolio of assets includes joint ownership of the Chrysler Building in New York.

“We are delighted to have the ongoing and unwavering support of Central Group.

“We are very focused and excited by the Christmas period and welcoming our customers into our stores for an exceptional experience."

Shareholders successfully ousted chair and founder René Benko, who was pressured to relinquish his voting rights last week amid the financial turmoil.

Benko founded the property business in 1999, originally as Immofina Holding, which was later renamed Signa Holding.

The business’ portfolio also includes the Signa Department Store Group, which owns shopping outlet Galleria and fashion website dress-for-less.

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