Thailand conglomerate Central Group has assumed majority ownership of the luxury department store Selfridges, which it acquired in late 2021 in partnership with Austrian property group Signa Holdings.
Earlier reported by WWD, the transition comes in the wake of Signa chairman René Benko’s resignation and the restructuring of the Austrian property giant by German experts Arndt Geiwitz.
Central, a prominent retail, real estate, and hospitality group in Thailand owned by the Chirathivats, among the country’s wealthiest families, announced its agreement with Signa to purchase Selfridges Group from the Weston family in December 2021.
The joint venture spanned 18 Selfridges department stores, including Selfridges in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, as well as Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland. The acquisition also included associated e-commerce platforms and prime properties located in London, Manchester, and five locations in Ireland.
The transaction brought Selfridges Group into the combined luxury department store portfolio of Central and Signa, whose holdings included Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Globus in Switzerland, and The KaDeWe Group, which operates in Germany and Austria.
Central Group announced on Tuesday that it has exercised its right to convert a loan provided by one of its subsidiaries to the Selfridges group into equity. Consequently, Central Group will assume the role of majority shareholder in the retailer, and will gain control of the joint venture company responsible for overseeing the Selfridges Group.