Baugur Banks on Retail

Icelandic group with big Saks stake to sell interests in areas including media, technology and financial investments to new independent companies.

LONDON – The Icelandic group Baugur, which holds an 8.58 percent stake in Saks Fifth Avenue, is now purely focused on retail.

The group said Tuesday it has agreed to sell off its media, technology and financial investments to two new independent companies for 430 million pounds, or $847 million.

All figures are converted from the pound at current exchange.

As a result of the sale, more than 85 percent of Baugur’s portfolio is now concentrated in the U.K., the U.S. and Scandinavia. Those businesses range from fashion, jewelry and department store chains to frozen food and childrens’ toys.

Gunnar Sigurdsson, chief executive officer of Baugur Group, said the sale will build the company’s existing war chest and allow it to take advantage of future investment opportunities, although he did not specify which ones. He said Baugur’s brand portfolio was currently valued in excess of 1.5 billion pounds, or $2.9 billion.

For complete coverage, see Wednesday’s WWD.

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