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Selfridges owner awaiting decision on Arnotts takeover

Selfridges owner The Weston Group will hear on May 28 whether its bid for half of Dublin department store Arnotts has been successful, opening the possibility that it could ultimately take on full ownership.

Wittington Investments, the holding company for both The Weston Group and Selfridges Group, is bidding for €140m worth (£115m) of loans owed by Arnotts to Ulster Bank. If approved by the Irish Competition Authority (ICA), the deal would lead to the business taking control of 50% of the city centre store. In its submission to the ICA, The Weston Group said it would invest and develop the 170-year-old store and its “peripheral properties”.

The Weston Group is partnering with property company Fitzwilliam Finance Partners on the bid, which reached the ICA in April. The statutory body is now assessing if competition would be “substantially lessoned” by the takeover. The Weston Group also owns Irish department store business Brown Thomas and is a major shareholder in Penneys’ parent company Associated British Foods, while Arnotts owns Boyers & Co, one of Ireland’s oldest department stores.

If successful, it is expected that The Weston Group and Fitzwilliam Finance will try to buy out US investment arm Apollo, which owns the other half of Arnotts. However, a source said Selfridges and Apollo were “as keen as each other” to secure full ownership. Apollo declined to comment and neither The Weston Group nor Selfridges could be reached.

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