London's iconic department store Liberty 'seeks £300m sale'

Alex Daniel
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Liberty last changed hands in 2010 when Bluegem bought it for £40m

London retail landmark Liberty department store could be set for new ownership for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Its largest shareholder, private equity firm Bluegem Capital Partners, has reportedly hired UBS to look into potential buyers for the business.

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The company, which Bluegem picked up for £40m, could sell for between £300m to £350m, according to Sky News.

Bluegem’s founder Marco Capello is chairman of Liberty, and last year appointed a new chief executive, Adil Mehboob-Khan, to advance the retailer.

Capello, who is also chairman of parenting retailer Mamas and Papas, has touted the department store as a “national icon has significant global potential”, but appears to be jettisoning these hopes amid turmoil in Britain’s retail market.

The shop, just off Oxford Street in central London, is recognisable for its mock-Tudor facade, and sells labels including that of Victoria Beckham, Gucci and Alexander McQueen.

UBS, Liberty and Bluegem all declined to comment.

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The news comes as embattled department store chain Debenhams saw shares jump 35 per cent this morning after it secured a £40m cash injection, as it fights to keep afloat amid crunch debt talks with lenders.

Debenhams, which has issued three profit warnings in the last 12 months, said that the agreed £40m loan will “act as a bridge to facilitate a broader refinancing and recapitalisation”.