Department store House of Fraser (HOF) may be taken over by the Qatari Royal Family in a deal valuing the chain at £300 million, it is understood.
While an acquisition of the company may take some weeks, talks with HOF stakeholders are already underway, according to the Daily Mail.
HOF has a broad shareholder base and was privatised in 2006 after an investment led by Icelandic investment group Baugur which collapsed in 2009, and now has shareholders including Icelandic bank Lansbanki and two divisions of Lloyds, making any takeover bid problematic.
It had been rumoured that Mike Ashley, owner of Sports Direct, was interested in acquiring the chain though a bid is yet to come to fruition and it is thought the entrepreneurs interest in the move has waned.
In March, there was speculation that high street stalwart Marks and Spencer could be taken over by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, which was considering an £8 million bid for the company, though interest seems to have cooled in the intervening months.
However, the Qatari’s maintain a 26 per cent stake in grocer Sainsbury’s and bought luxury department store Harrods in 2012 so any purchase of HOF could see the chains reunite after being split by the Al Fayed family when they acquired the store in 1985.