LONDON — Nanjing Cenbest, also known as Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group, said Tuesday that it has completed its acquisition of 89 percent of the U.K. department store group House of Fraser, at an enterprise value of around 480 million pounds, or $797 million, comprising the firm’s equity and debt. The deal was originally revealed in April.
House of Fraser’s executive chairman Don McCarthy, who said in April that he would stand down from the role when the acquisition was completed, said that his move was also effective Tuesday. McCarthy commented that the completion of the deal “will move House of Fraser to the next stage of its development as a leading international, multi-channel retail group with a premium fashion offering.”
Yuan Yafei, chairman of Sanpower Group, added that the acquisition was “an unprecedented transaction and the largest acquisition of a foreign retailer by a Chinese listed company,” he said. “We are looking forward to bringing international brands to China through House of Fraser [and]….we are extremely confident House of Fraser will become a leading global department store and will serve as a bridge for premium brands between China and Europe.”
House of Fraser noted that the remaining 11 percent shareholding in the business is held by West Coast Capital Limited, a subsidiary of the Sports Direct Group, which is owned by Mike Ashley. The shareholding doesn’t give Ashley the right to a board position, as reported when retail entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter originally transferred the shareholding to Ashley earlier this year. Nanjing Cenbest had offered to acquire the shareholding under the same terms as the rest of the acquisition, the company said, but no agreement was finalized.