Chinese conglomerate buys House of Fraser

<p>House of Fraser has been sold to a Chinese firm.</p>

Chinese conglomerate Sanpower has confirmed the purchase of British department store chain House of Fraser in a deal reported to be worth as much as £450 million.

Rumours of an agreement between the two businesses have been circulating for weeks, but the purchase has now gone through. It gives Sanpower an 89 per cent share in the company.

Bosses at House of Fraser insist that the change of ownership is not going to have a major impact for either members of staff or customers.

House of Fraser described the deal as an "extremely exciting chapter" in its 165-year history and the department store chain's executive chairman, Don McCarthy, stated the company is now going to have a strong platform from which to target overseas markets.

Mr McCarthy will step down as a result of the sale to Sanpower and he added: "I am extremely confident that the group's business model…will accelerate and develop long into the future."

Landmark buy

Yuan Yafei, chairman of Sanpower Group, stated that he believes the purchase of House of Fraser will go down in history as a landmark acquisition.

He said: "House of Fraser is a strong and iconic heritage brand in the UK and abroad, with exceptional fashion credentials. We have always been looking to invest in strong brands like House of Fraser, and take them to the next level of growth."

Sports Direct bought an 11 per cent stake in House of Fraser earlier in the week in a move many interpreted as an attempt to put Sanpower off its planned takeover of the department store chain.

House of Fraser had planned to list on the London Stock Exchange if a buyer was not found for the business, but the sale to Sanpower means this will now not happen. House of Fraser also revealed that that should the transfer of those shares go through to Sanpower, Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, who runs Sports Direct, would not have the right to a position on the company's board.

Mr Ashley is currently come under strong criticism from Newcastle United fans, with the club ninth in the Premier League.

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