Shop Direct owners exploring sale options
The billionaire Barclay brothers are reportedly reviewing their family empire in a move that could see fashion e-tailer Shop Direct change hands or welcome a new investor.
The future ownership of Shop Direct is being reviewed alongside other family businesses such as The Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspapers and The Ritz Hotel. This is as part of an effort to streamline the Barclay portfolio to allow family members to pursue different investment opportunities, reported The Times.
The review is expected to be completed within 12 to 18 months, with financial advisers being drafted in to value the businesses and search for buyers.
Shop Direct Group, which was founded by the family through the merger of Littlewoods and mail order business Gus, generated pre-tax losses of £185.5 million in the year ending June 30, a dramatic increase from losses of £24.7 million a year earlier.
But the business has benefited strongly from the shift to online shopping, posting a 1.8% increase in revenues to nearly £2 billion during the same period.
Aidan and Howard Barclay, the sons of Sir David Barclay, are understood to be keen to remain as investors in the fashion business. They are currently considering selling a 25% stake to a sovereign wealth fund or private equity buyer and retaining the remaining 75%, according to the British newspaper.
Later this year, Shop Direct will complete its rebrand to The Very Group to better align its corporate image with its flagship retail brand.
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