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Reliance owner eyes Debenhams department-store takeover

Debenhams sign
Debenhams is seeking a buyer.

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail has expressed interest in purchasing British-headquartered department-store chain Debenhams.

According to the Retail Gazette, the struggling chain has been on the lookout for buyers since July, after it was placed in administration for the second time in a year last April.

A “small number” of potential buyers have come forward, including Ambani, who is the majority owner of Reliance Retail and the country’s richest individual. However, Ambani has yet to place a formal bid on the Debenhams business, according to Retail Gazette’s sources.

Despite rumours to the contrary in the news, Debenhams chairman Mark Gifford has claimed that the firm is not on the brink of collapse and in no rush to finalise an acquisition deal. Furthermore, its sales have improved following the end of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. 

Debenhams’ Magasin du Nord retail business in Denmark is also reported to be in the process of being sold off for between £150–200 million.

Debenhams, which now operates 124 stores in the UK and 45 international outlets, is likely to remain under administration until early next year.

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