Thu 14 Mar 2019
The famous London department store, Liberty, is poised to change hands for the first time in nearly a decade after its largest shareholders hired banks to explore a potential sale
Sky News reported that BlueGem Capital Partners, a private equity firm, has asked USB to sound out prospective bidders for the business.
It is believed BlueGem have slapped a price tag of more than £300m on the West End retail destination, as well as its sister companies which include the fabrics division.
The company’s recognisable Tudor store on the corner of Regent Street and Great Marlborough Street in Central London is placed amongst some of the top-ranked shopping landmarks.
The store, which opened in 1924, initially became known for importing ornaments, art and fabrics from across the British Empire to London.
After being extensively renovated, Liberty is now famous for its beautiful designer homeware as well as beauty, accessories and haberdashery.
It was unclear whether BlueGem would sell its stake in isolation, or whether the process would involve the remaining shares in Liberty.
In 2014, BlueGem reduced its stake in Liberty by offloading part of its holding to what it described as “prominent and well-established international families from Europe and the Middle East”.
BlueGem, who are believed to own roughly 40% of Liberty’s shares, declined to comment on the talks with prospective buyers.
The news comes amidst a time of struggle for department stores, after House of Fraser went into administration last summer. The News of BlueGem’s decision to explore a sale came on the same day Debenhams secured a short-term £40m financing lifeline from its lenders.