08 May 2010

Qatar Holding buys Harrods

Gulf Times

Egyptian-born businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed has sold prestigious London department store Harrods to Qatar Holding, the main investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority.

A spokesman for Lazard, which advised the Al Fayed family trust, declined to confirm the value of the deal. But according to news agencies, the deal is reported to be worth around £1.5bn ($2.3bn).

“After 25 years as chairman of Harrods, Mohamed Al-Fayed has decided to retire and to spend more time with his children and grandchildren and believed Qatar Holding would continue to promote it as a luxury brand,” Lazard chairman Ken Costa said yesterday.
“Qatar Holding was specifically chosen by the trust as they had both the vision and financial capacity to support the long term successful growth of Harrods,” he added.

Harrods is a luxury department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. The Harrods brand applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies, including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air Harrods.

Qatar Holding will be the fifth owner of Harrods since its creation in 1840.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, also chairman of Qatar Holding, said yesterday: “Our latest acquisition forms part of our efforts to realise the vision of HH the Emir and HH the Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar. Harrods generates good and stable returns as a business; it will add much value to our international portfolio of investments.”

He said that Qatar Holding would do “its best to upgrade this monument, to make it even greater and better for the tourism and the British people”.

Al-Fayed, who also owns Europa League finalists Fulham Football Club and the Hotel Ritz Paris, gave Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim a short tour of the store.

Qatar Holding vice chairman Dr Hussain Ali al-Abdullah said: “Our latest acquisition is truly magnificent. Such a rare opportunity does not arise every day and today we celebrate this landmark transaction.”

Qatar Holding managing director and CEO Ahmad Mohamed al-Sayed said: “This acquisition further expands our global portfolio of world-leading companies.

“We are delighted to announce that Mohamed al-Fayed has accepted our invitation to become honorary chairman of Harrods. We look forward to working with Michael Ward, Harrods managing director, and the outstanding team that Mohamed Al-Fayed has assembled to continue to maintain Harrods as the world’s pre-eminent luxury retailer.”

Credit Suisse advised Qatar Holding on the transaction.

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