The world’s most famous store, Knightsbridge’s Harrods, has been bought by the Qatari royal family for a sum thought to be £1.5billion.
Mohamed Fayed, the larger than life owner of the iconic store, made the decision to retire from running the store and after months of negotiation a deal was struck between himself and Qatar Holding, a sovereign wealth fund held by Qatar’s first family. In a statement Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Thani, the chairman of Qatar Holdings and also the Prime Minister of Qatar, said: “Harrods generates good and stable returns as a business – it will add much value to our international portfolio of investments”.
It is thought the Fayed will now “spend more time with his children and grandchildren” according to an adviser from the deal. Fayed will stay on in the capacity of honorary chairman but his involvement in the day-to-day running of the store has come to an end; what this means for his other two ventures, Fulham Football Club and the Paris Ritz, remains unknown.
Qatar Holdings had previously attempted to purchase supermarket chain Sainsbury’s in 2007, they also have large stakes in car manufacturers Porsche and VW. The acquisition of Harrods is seen as the crown jewel of their portfolio and Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Thani added that “It's a historical place. I know it's important, not only for the British people but it is important for the tourism”.
Harrods was founded in 1849 and is visited by more than 15 million people per year, despite the recent recession last year it reported turnover growth of just under 10pc. The store motto is “Omnia Omnibus Ubique” which translates to All Things for All People, Everywhere.