Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Linklaters have the lead roles on an $804 million deal that will see China’s Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co. Ltd., or Nanjing Cenbest, acquire 89 percent of British department store chain House of Fraser.
Nanjing Cenbest, a subsidiary of conglomerate Sanpower Group, says it plans to open 50 House of Fraser stories in mainland China. The British company currently has 59 stores in the U.K., Ireland and Abu Dhabi.
The company said it will benefit from House of Fraser’s long relationship with well-known international brands including Prada, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren. The company aims to add more international brands to its existing department stores, mostly in China’s Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, and gain a foothold in the European market.
The transaction, subject to regulatory approvals in China, is expected to close within four months.
Simpson Thacher London partner Derek Baird and Hong Kong partner Shaolin Luo are leading a team advising Cenbest on the acquisition. Clyde & Co Beijing partner Lynia Lau is advising Cenbest on employment law and certain regulatory aspects of the transaction.
Linklaters London partner Simon Branigan is leading a team acting for House of Fraser. King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin London partner Andrew Wingfield is representing Bank of Scotland, a major shareholder in House of Fraser.