Deutsche Bank Unit Sells Printemps Stores to Qatari Buyers

A Deutsche Bank AG investment fund and Borletti Group sold French department store owner Printemps to a group of unidentified Qatari investors in a deal said to be valued at about 1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion).

The transaction’s value includes 600 million euros of debt, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the information is private. Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management held 70 percent of Printemps and Luxembourg-based Borletti owned the rest, according to a statement today from the Frankfurt-based bank.

The agreement ends months of speculation over the owner of five French department stores, including its flagship on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. Deutsche Bank said in Februrary it was in exclusive talks to sell its holding in Printemps to a group of Qatari investors and Borletti. At the time, competitor Galleries Lafayette also expressed interest.

“Printemps was a traditional department store with private labels and we’ve turned it into a luxury brand store,” Gianluca Muzzi, head of Europe excluding Germany at Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management said in a phone interview. The owner sold shops in undesirable locations and used the proceeds to upgrade its prime sites, he said.

The Deutsche Bank unit and Borletti bought the property in 2006 for 1.08 billion euros, according to a statement at the time from PPR SA, the seller.

Deutsche Bank’s announcement that it was in exclusive talks followed Borletti’s statement that it wasn’t interested in divesting its share. In April, Borletti chairman Maurizio Borletti told Les Echo that Qatari investors had agreed to buy Printemps for 1.6 billion euros including 550 million euros of debt.

Dalian Wanda Group Corp. was also interested in Printemps, Senior Vice President Hu Zhanghong told French newspaper Les Echos in December.

Printemps owns stores in Paris, Parly, Deauville, Lille and Strasbourg.

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