Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has been revealed as a private financial backer of the £4bn takeover of Selfridges.
The Kingdom’s £500bn Public Investment Fund (PIF) acquired an interest in the luxury department store last August through Austrian property firm Signa Holding, The Telegraph reported.
The PIF held a minority contribution of the Signa fund that acquired a 50% stake in the retailer, teaming up with Thai retailer Central Group for equal partnership.
The fund’s interest in Selfridges via Signa reflects the way Saudi Arabia is using intermediaries to deploy its extensive wealth.
The deal completes a trio of high-profile investments from the PIF in the UK, after it became the second-largest shareholder in Aston Martin and acquired a majority ownership of Newcastle United in 2021.
The pair’s £4bn bid came after previous owners the Weston Family put the department store up for auction following the death of patriarch Galen Weston.
The deal resulted in extra debt being piled onto the structure that separates Selfridges’ property from its retail business.
The newspaper revealed that the London branch of Bangkok Bank provided a £1.7bn loan that is secured against the freehold of its London flagship store, which Swiss lender EFG Bank provided a loan secured against its Manchester location to help fund the acquisition.