Wealth from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment fund has been disclosed as a private financial supporter of the £4bn acquisition of Selfridges.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom, amounting to £500bn, obtained an interest in the upscale department store during last August through Signa Holding, an Austrian property firm as reported by The Telegraph.
PIF had a minority share in the Signa fund that acquired a 50% stake in the retailer, collaborating with Central Group, a Thai retailer, for an equal partnership.
PIF’s interest in Selfridges through Signa demonstrates how Saudi Arabia is utilizing intermediaries to deploy its substantial wealth.
This deal adds to a series of high-profile investments by PIF in the UK, following its position as the second-largest shareholder in Aston Martin and its acquisition of a majority stake in Newcastle United in 2021.
The £4bn bid was made after the previous owners, the Weston Family, put the department store up for auction subsequent to the passing of patriarch Galen Weston.
As a result of the deal, additional debt was added to the framework that separates Selfridges’ property from its retail business.
The newspaper revealed that a loan of £1.7bn was provided by the London branch of Bangkok Bank, secured against the freehold of its London flagship store, and Swiss lender EFG Bank provided a loan secured against its Manchester location to assist with funding the acquisition.