Luxury retailer has hired UBS to seek private buyer, according to reports

The department store Liberty London has been put on the market with a potential £350m price tag.

The retail landmark, which was founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875 with a £2,000 loan from his future father-in-law, has grown to become an international brand that sells its tana lawn fabrics and luxury leather goods around the world.

The private equity firm BlueGem bought Liberty for £32m in 2010 and refinanced it in 2014, reducing its stake to about 40% and allowing some investors to take cash out but nearly all to reinvest in buying the department store for £165m.

It is understood BlueGem is looking to offload its stake. It is unclear if other investors are willing to sell.

Group sales reached £133m in the year to February 2018, up 8% year on year, while pretax profits more than tripled to nearly £7m. About 60% of the store’s profits come from selling own-label merchandise.

The Tudor-revival store on Great Marlborough Street in central London opened in 1924 and has been extensively renovated by its current owners as a home for designer fashion as well as beauty, accessories, homewares and haberdashery.

The company was once listed on the London Stock Exchange but controlled by property company MWB Group. It lost money for years, making sales of about £70m and losses of £4.5m in 2009.

Original Source


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