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House of Fraser in talks with Chinese multimillionaire

House of Fraser is being eyed by a Chinese conglomerate headed by multimillionaire Yuan Yafei, it emerged this weekend.

Sanpower, a conglomerate owned by Yuan, has approached HoF chairman Don McCarthy offering £450m for the business, according to the Sunday Times.  

Yafei’s Sanpower, which employs 30,000 people, controls 100 companies including China’s oldest and largest department store, Nanjing Xinjiekou. Yafei plans to build 1,100 ‘lifestyle hubs’ featuring retail, leisure and dining across China over the next decade.

Meanwhile The Mail on Sunday reported the chain had “fired the starting gun” on its IPO with 10 board executives told to clear their diaries for the next six weeks in order to meet fund managers. The paper said initial meetings with potential investors had been positive.

The IPO plans, which are being conducted by Rothschild, HSBC and Numis, are expected to continue alongside the talks with Sanpower.

HoF, which has previously been in talks with Sports Direct, Galeries Lafayette and Harrods-owner Qatar Investment Authority regarding a takeover, is scheduled to float on the stock exchange before July.

House of Fraser declined to comment.

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