Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co (Nanjing Cenbest) has officially completed a deal to acquire approximately 89% of Highland Group Holdings, the parent company of House of Fraser, for £480m.
Yuan Yafei, chairman of Sanpower Group, the largest shareholder of Nanjing Cenbest, said: “We are delighted to have completed the purchase of HoF today. It is an unprecedented transaction and the largest acquisition of a foreign retailer by a Chinese listed company.
“We are looking forward to bringing international brands to China through House of Fraser, providing Chinese consumers with premium fashion products. We are extremely confident HoF will become a leading global department store and will serve as a bridge for premium brands between China and Europe.”
Don McCarthy, who stands down as executive chairman of HoF today, said: “The acquisition by Nanjing Cenbest will move HoF to the next stage of its development as a leading international, multichannel retail group with a premium fashion offering.”
HoF chief executive John King added: “HoF is starting a new and exciting chapter under new ownership, with shareholders who have plans to support the next exciting phase in the development of the business.
“We have a focused business strategy based on investment in our stores, our leading multichannel offering, growing our house brands and the introduction of exciting premium brands. This strategy has helped us deliver strong growth over the last few years and I am delighted that our current trading is very positive.”
King said HoF would be in contact with brand partners shortly to outline its plans for becoming a “truly global multichannel retailer”.
The remaining 11% stake in HoF is held by West Coast Capital (Hofco), a subsidiary of the Sports Direct Group. Nanjing Cenbest offered to acquire this shareholding on the same terms as the acquisition, but no agreement was finalised.
HoF will publish its half year results on September 24.