House of Fraser to be sold to Chinese company Sanpower

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 | BUSINESS SALE

House of Fraser is on the verge of being sold to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, it has been announced today.

In a deal that has been speculated about for several weeks, Sanpower is about to take an 89 per cent share in the UK chain of department stores, the BBC claimed today (7 April). The news comes after attempts by Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United Football Club, to derail the takeover by purchasing 11 per cent of the company last week.

Ashley bought his shares from entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter and then reportedly proceeded to attempt to buy out other investors. His plans appear to have failed however, as the Chinese company is on the brink of making the deal public.

The deal would take the value of House of Fraser to about £450 million in what would be the fourth biggest foreign retail investment in China’s history. A further £70 million is purportedly going to be invested into House of Fraser to revamp its stores and website.

According to the BBC: “Sanpower currently employs 30,000 people and has assets believed to be worth nearly £5 billion… It controls more than 100 firms in a range of sectors, from retail to property, including the Nanjing Xinjiekou department store chain.”

Mike Ashley has stated that he is willing to sell his shares to Sanpower for the right price, says Bloomberg News. There is a chance that Sports Direct could make a profit by selling its recently-purchased shares.

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