Selfridges sold to Thai and Austrian groups in £4bn deal
The big news of the morning is that UK-based department store chain Selfridges, has been acquired in a £4bn deal by Thai conglomerate Central Group and Austrian real estate group Cigna.
The deal will see the return of Vittorio Redis, the former boss of the luxury department store.
The firms have bought the group from Canada’s Weston family, and are believed to have defeated rival bids from the Qatar Investment Authority, which owns Harrods, and Lane Crawford, a Hong Kong-based department store owner.
The Thai conglomerate, which began in Bangkok in the 1950s with a store operated by Tiang Chirathiwat, listed part of the business on the Thai Stock Exchange last year, and has other interests in convenience stores, shopping centers and hotels. Cigna is owned and operated by one of Austria’s richest men, René Benko.
Deals with Westons include Selfridge’s four UK stores in London, Birmingham, and two in Manchester, as well as Brown Thomas & Arnotts in Ireland and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands. This includes approximately £2bn of the chain’s flagship property assets, including the freehold of the Oxford Street flagship store listed in London.
Introduction: Santa rally propels S&P 500 to record high
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, financial markets, eurozone and trade.
There’s only one trading day in town until Christmas, and investors are scrambling to see signs of an imaginary Santa rally.
US stocks edged higher last night as traders took heart from mounting evidence that omicron version The coronavirus is mild. The S&P 500 closed at a record high — it’s 68th this year — and European markets staged their own rally on Thursday.
As kent engelke, Chief Economic Strategist A.T. Capital Securities Management, told Morningstar:
“Today, it’s about economic optimism that this version won’t be as bad as Delta and the original virus.”
Last night, a UK government study showed that the risk of hospitalization for people with Omicron is up to 70% lower than for those infected with Delta.
Australia’s stock market joins the festive spirit asx The index rose 0.4% on Christmas Eve, with financial stocks, mining and gas companies and tech among the gainers.
Christmas time in markets (based on the news…), and . have a habit of rallying around Jeffrey Haley Of Oanda Says it has arrived:
Thankfully, journalists have stopped asking me whether we’ll get a Santa Claus rally in the stock markets, because it’s well and truly arrived.
Wall Street rose again overnight after a strong rally on US data and markets reassured themselves even more that Omicron is a mild symptomatic storm in a cup of tea.
But in the UK, there is concern about the growing financial crisis on the High Street and in hospitality firms.
As my colleague Sarah Butler explains:
More than 35,000 British retailers and 20,000 bars and restaurants are facing significant financial crunch, according to new figures, while shoppers are estimated to spend nearly a quarter less in physical stores this Boxing Day than before the pandemic .
If fashion and footwear shops, furniture businesses and other “non-essential” retailers are allowed to remain open from 26 December, £3.94bn is expected to be spent in stores and online that day, before the pandemic 10% less and 1% less than last year.
Spending in physical stores alone is expected to drop 23% compared to 2019 as many shoppers avoid high streets, shopping centers and retail parks amid fears of the Omicron version of the coronavirus.
Tomorrow, FTSE 100 In March, the pandemic hit a six-week high, close to its highest level since the crash.
But today it may have a slow start, as the blue-chip index is expected to decline slightly. This could be a quiet session, with trading ending early at lunchtime (hooray).