Thai group close in on Brown Thomas and Arnotts deal

The Brown Thomas sore on Dublin's Grafton Street. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

IRISH department stores Brown Thomas and Arnotts are set to be sold to Thailand's Central Group, according to reports.

The Weston family have been searching for a buyer for the Selfridges group and are understood to want around £4 billion for the retail operation, which has 25 stores globally.

According to the Times, which first reported the deal, the process could drag on until the end of the year but terms were agreed in the last few days.

Selfridges declined to comment.

The company was founded in 1908 but has been controlled by the Weston family since 2003.

The family also have a large stake in Primark.

Central Group is a family-owned conglomerate that started in Bangkok but went global when the founder's son, Samrit Chirathivat, opened Thailand's first department store in 1956.

It now has 3,700 shops around the world, from supermarkets to electronics outlets, and department stores in Europe.

Central Group's non-executive director Vittorio Radice ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and has been managing a department store in Italy since 2006.

His role includes responsibility for expansions in Europe.

The Weston family launched the sales process in June, a few months after the death of Galen Weston, who oversaw the move to take the department store private in 2003.

The family control Selfridges through Wittington Investments Ltd in Canada, which is separate from the UK arm that owns a large stake in Primark owner Associated British Foods.

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