House of Fraser Said to Push for IPO After Ending Talks on Sale

U.K. department-store chain House of Fraser ended talks to be acquired by French retailer Galeries Lafayette, two people familiar with the matter said.

House of Fraser, which has about 60 stores in the U.K. and Ireland, will instead press ahead with plans for an initial public offering later this year, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is private. The Financial Times reported the U.K. retailer’s intentions late yesterday.

House of Fraser’s decision to end talks with Galeries Lafayette marks the French company’s second failure in the past year to acquire a rival department-store chain as it seeks to build scale. Galeries Lafayette had sought to buy Printemps, which was sold to a group of Qatari investors last year in a deal that a person familiar with the matter said was valued at about 1.8 billion euros ($2.5 billion).

House of Fraser this month reported record Christmas business with same-store sales increasing 4.3 percent in the nine weeks through Dec. 28 and online sales surging.

External representatives for House of Fraser and Galeries Lafayette declined to comment today.

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