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Saudi Arabia reportedly eyes up £2bn stake in Selfridges, Gucci owner denies interest

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia is reportedly eyeing up a £2bn stake in Selfridges as the department store chain’s co-owner faces insolvency, while luxury goods giant Kering has denied the claim that it is interested in the store.

The Telegraph reported on Saturday that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Kering, which is the parent company of Gucci, were considering acquiring a stake in the retailer, citing unnamed City sources.

Kering has since denied the report, with a spokesperson telling Bloomberg News on Friday that the group had no interest in Selfridges.

Selfridges’ ownership has become the subject of interest since the collapse of its Austrian co-owner Signa. Shareholders ousted the real estate company’s billionaire owner René Benko last November, with the firm filing for insolvency later that month.


Signa and Central Group, a Thai multinational, bought Selfridges in a £4bn deal in 2021, splitting up the company into an operating and property business. Signa owns 50 per cent of the property company and some 35 per cent of the operating company, including Selfridges’ retail brand and prime real estate on Oxford Street.

Both parts of the business had been jointly owned by Signa and Central, but Central converted a £317m loan into a majority stake in Selfridges late last year.

Sources said Signa’s stake in Selfridges, which would be worth some £2bn, was available for acquisition as Central was seeking a new partner, although the sale process was complicated by legal proceedings against Signa in Austria.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF privately backed Signa’s investment in Selfridges two years ago, meaning it could be a leading contender in any bidding process.

The state is understood to be waiting for the full outcome from Signa’s collapse before formally declaring an interest in its stake.

Central and Selfridges declined to comment. The PIF was approached for comment.

Kering, with a market capitalisation of €44.1bn, owns brands including Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. In January, it bought the Fifth Avenue building housing its New York Gucci store for $963m.

Updated to include Kering’s denial of The Telegraph’s report