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Qataris switch focus from M&S to HoF

House of Fraser has emerged as the latest acquisition target for Qatari investors.

The deal, reported to be worth around £300m, has already been the subject of talks with some of the department store chain’s shareholders, according to the Financial Mail on Sunday.

Reports had previously linked the Qatari Investment Authority with Marks & Spencer, in a takeover deal worth £8bn, but a source told MoS it was now focusing its attention on HoF.

HoF has been the subject of takeover talks for some months, with Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley in discussions over acquiring the business late last year. However, Ashley’s interest is understood to have since waned.

The department store still carries a large amount of debt on its balance sheet, and a complicated shareholder structure that could complicate any acquisition.

But if HoF is acquired by the Qataris, it will reunite the business with Harrods, which it owned from 1959 until 1985, when the Al Fayed family bought it for £615m.

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