Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co. Ltd., a luxury Chinese department store chain and subsidiary of Sanpower Group, has agreed to acquire an 89% stake in United Kingdom-based House of Fraser for approximately 480 million pounds ($806.06 million).
House of Fraser is No. 100 in Internet Retailer’s Europe 500. The acquisition is expected to close in approximately four months and is subject to the approval of Nanjing shareholders and Chinese regulators. The House of Fraser board has approved the transaction.
“Our announcement opens an extremely exciting chapter in the story of House of Fraser,” says Don McCarthy, executive chairman of House of Fraser. “The acquisition by Nanjing will allow House of Fraser’s management team to continue to grow and invest in the business in the U.K. 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.”
The deal also ends House of Fraser’s plans to list on the London Stock Exchange. McCarthy will step down from his role as executive chairman when the sale is complete.
“With House of Fraser, we see significant opportunities to develop the business further and replicate the already successful model in international markets, in particular in China,” says Yuan Yafei, chairman of Sanpower Group, the largest shareholder of Nanjing. “We are very much looking forward to enhancing the business and unlock House of Fraser’s potential to become a leading global brand. Yafei adds that the deal is is the largest cross-border direct acquisition by a Chinese non-state-owned company, and the largest overseas acquisition in the retail sector by a Chinese business.
For its fiscal year ending January 26, 2013, House of Fraser reported total sales of 1.2 billion pounds ($2.02 billion), up 3.3% from 2012. Online sales increased 53%, and accounted for 10.9% of total sales. The retailer has not yet reported its fiscal 2014 sales.