House of Fraser’s shareholders are considering an offer from a tycoon for the department store business, while also continuing with the possibility of an IPO or a trade sale to another party.
Within the past two weeks the board considered an offer from Yuan Yafei, founder of Sanpower, a Nanjing-based conglomerate with interests ranging from retailing to healthcare.
HoF had been speaking to Sanpower about a franchising deal in China. Yafei plans to build 1,100 ‘lifestyle hubs’ featuring retail, leisure and dining in China over the next decade.
Press reports put Yafei’s offer price at £450m.
HoF, which has 61 UK and Irish stores, has been at the centre of sale talk since last year.
Sports Direct, Harrods owner Qatar Holding and Galeries Lafayette have all been linked in the press to HoF, where chairman Don McCarthy has been managing a complex share owning structure, the legacy of the collapse of Icelandic group Baugur.
Drapers sources indicated the HoF board is now leaning towards a sale, to Sanpower or another party, rather than the IPO.
“They don’t want to float it,” said a source. “And someone is seriously interested. Whether it will come off or not is another thing though.”
The IPO process is continuing amid the speculation.
The possible listing had been scheduled for May, but is now expected to take place in July, if a sale is not agreed before that.
A source told Drapers: Things are definitely happening but the situation is very fluid.”
HOF declined to comment.