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Chinese luxury department store chain buys House of Fraser
Apr '14
Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co., Ltd. (“Nanjing Cenbest”), a subsidiary of Sanpower Group, and a leading chain of luxury Chinese department stores, today announces it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire approximately 89% of Highland Group Holdings Ltd (“House of Fraser” or the “Company”), the UK and Ireland’s premium department store group. The offer price implies an enterprise value of approximately £480 million.

The acquisition is expected to close in approximately four months and is subject to customary closing conditions including the approval of Nanjing Cenbest shareholders and Chinese regulatory clearances.

Don McCarthy, Executive Chairman of House of Fraser, commented: “Our announcement today opens an extremely exciting chapter in the story of House of Fraser. The acquisition by Nanjing Cenbest will allow House of Fraser’s Management team to continue to grow and invest in the business in the UK and Ireland, provide a strong platform from which to expand the brand in international markets and to further develop our multichannel, stores and premium fashion offering”.

Yuan Yafei, Chairman of Sanpower Group, the largest shareholder of Nanjing Cenbest, said: “This acquisition is a landmark transaction for a Chinese listed company. House of Fraser is a strong and iconic heritage brand in the UK and abroad, with exceptional fashion credentials. The Management team has done an incredible job moving this business from a traditional department store to a recognised premium branded fashion retailer with a first-class multichannel offering”.

Don McCarthy will be stepping down as Executive Chairman of House of Fraser upon completion of the transaction.

The House of Fraser Board, which has approved the transaction, notes that, on 28 March 2014, Sir Tom Hunter notified the Company of the disposal of his shareholding of approximately 11% of House of Fraser. The transfer of these shares is subject to a shareholders’ agreement including rights of pre-emption. The Board also notes that should the transfer of these shares to Sports Direct complete, the shareholding loses the rights to a Board position.

Nanjing Cenbest is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and House of Fraser by Reorient Group.

House of Fraser

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