The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the owner of Harrods, has lined up to buy department stores Selfridges for GBP4bn.
The Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund is in talks with the current owners, the billionaire Weston family, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Other prospective buyers include Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford and Canada’s the Hudson’s Bay Company.
The QIA is looking to expand its UK retail portfolio, after buying competitor Harrods from Mohammed Al-Fayed for GBP1.5bn in 2010. It also owns Parisian retailer Printemps, snapped up in 2013 for GBP1.47bn.
Selfridges, which owns 25 sites worldwide valued at around GBP2bn, was founded in 1908 and went private in 2003 when the Westons bought it for GBP598mln.
The deal was executed by W Galen Weston, who died in April, and who reportedly would have been opposed to the sale.
He was chairman of Selfridges Group until two years ago, when his daughter Alannah Weston took the post.
The retailer made GBP1.97bn in sales in the year to February 2020 with operating profits of GBP88mln. It reported a record-breaking Christmas last year, with sales up 8%.