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Selfridges owners invested £76m in Arnotts

The new owners of Arnotts, Canadian billionaire Galen Weston and his Irish wife, Hilary, invested €107m (£76m) into Ireland’s biggest department store over the last six months ahead of buying the business outright, it has emerged.

The Westons’ Selfridges Group bought Arnotts yesterday (November 2) for an undisclosed sum from Fitzwilliam Finance Partners, an investment vehicle owned by Irish property developer Noel Smyth.

Backed by Wittington Canada – the holding company for the Weston Group, Wittington Properties and Selfridges Group – Fitzwilliam Finance Partners bought the 50% stake in Arnotts of rival private equity firm Apollo Global Management in May. Documents filed with the Companies Office show Selfridges Group invested €107m (£76m) in Arnotts within days of the sale being approved by Ireland’s Competition Authority.

The newly formed holding company for Arnotts, ARHL Holdings Ltd, was advanced €68m (£48m) in cash by Shel Holdings Europe Ltd, the parent of Selfridges UK.

Shel Holdings Europe Ltd also provided a €45m (£32m) finance facility to ARHL. Other investments have since been made.

The three directors of ARHL are Selfridges managing director Paul Kelly, Brown Thomas head Stephen Sealey and Selfridges general counsel Adam Batty.

Donald McDonald, who has a background working in fashion wholesale and consultancy, has become managing director of Arnotts.

The Westons have bought the Arnotts department store from Fitzwilliam Finance Partners, while Smyth’s firm gets control of the group’s remaining assets, including the nearby Boyers store, which is earmarked to close after Christmas, and other properties in the area.

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