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Johannesson family buys back retail assets as Baugur leaves Iceland

As part of Icelandic investment company Baugur's move to London, the company will sell its retail holding company, Hagar, back to the founding family.

The return of Hagar to the ownership of Jón Ásgeir Johannesson and his family means that the UK now accounts for some 85% of the investment portfolio, with the balance in Scandinavia and the US.

The sale of Hagar coincides with a restructuring by the Johannesson family of its holdings in Iceland with the transfer of its shares in Baugur into FL Group, which has been renamed Stodir Holding. Stodir, in which the family is now a controlling shareholder, is Baugur's largest shareholder.

Baugur will retain the House of Fraser department store chain and Hamleys toyshops in Britain, as well as its stake in Saks in the US. The Johannesson family will be control of the supermarkets Bónus, Hagkaup and 10-11, and the sporting goods shop Útilíf.

According to Baugur, the decision to sell Hagar comes as Baugur shifts its focus onto investments with "strong international growth potential". For the year to date, underlying sales are up nearly 4% at its on-going businesses, while profitability is up 25%.

Gunnar Sigurdsson, CEO of Baugur Group, said: "It is fantastic to see how well our companies are performing, which is a tribute to the quality of the management teams we have running these businesses as well as their strong market positioning, low leverage and efficient operations."

In February, Baugur made an unsuccessful bid to acquire the remaining shares of UK-based Moss Bros – a family-owned firm in which Baugur already held a 30% stake. Click here to read the story in full.

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