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Galeries Lafayette mulls House of Fraser purchase

Family-controlled French department store group Galeries Lafayette is reportedly considering a purchase of British counterpart House of Fraser, in an effort to expand its operations across the Channel.
Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France
Press Association

Family-controlled French department store group Galeries Lafayette is reportedly considering a purchase of British counterpart House of Fraser, in an effort to expand its operations across the Channel.

The 164-year-old House of Fraser had been mulling an IPO in 2014, as previous attempts over the past two years at a trade sale have failed.

But according to Reuters, two industry sources have confirmed the department store groups are currently in talks, meaning the planned public
listing wouldn’t go ahead.

House of Fraser has 61 stores in Britain and Ireland and annual sales of around £1.2 billion (€1.4 billion).

The company was founded in 1849 by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur, and remained in Fraser family control over four generations.

It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1948, but is today under private ownership, with Highland Group Holdings owning 49% and the rest split between various individuals as well as Lloyds Banking Group.

Galeries Lafayette was founded in 1893 by Theophile Bader and is today chaired by his granddaughter Ginette Moulin. It is still fully owned by the Moulin family, and her son-in-law Philippe Houze is chairman of the executive board.

The company, headquartered in Paris, operates 65 outlets under its name, and has recently opened a number of new stores in emerging market capitals, such as Jakarta and Beijing.

Last year it had revenues of €2.3 billion.

Both Galeries Lafayette and the House of Fraser have been unwilling to comment on the rumoured talks. 

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