Debenhams attractive but pricey, says Jagtiani

Landmark has about $1bn in acquisition funds; speculation the group may buy UK-listed fashion retailer
Debenhams attractive but pricey, says Jagtiani
Jagtiani owns a 6.93 percent stake in Debenhams through an investment vehicle
By Reuters
Wed 27 Oct 2010 05:00 PM

UAE retail group Landmark, which is eyeing a London acquisition, said UK retailer Debenhams was an attractive target but too expensive.

Landmark, owned by Indian tycoon Micky Jagtiani, has about $1bn in its acquisition war chest and there has been speculation the group is considering buying a UK-listed fashion retailer.

Jagtiani - who owns a 6.93 percent stake in Debenhams through an investment vehicle - has been linked in the past to a bid for Britain's number two department store group.

"I can't afford it at the moment. If I could, maybe I would do it," Jagtiani told reporters after a Landmark event in the Gulf Arab emirate.

"We are in retail and hospitality," he added. "Anything that falls within this field will get our priority and we will see if we can digest it and bring value to it."

On Tuesday, Landmark chief executive Renuka Jagtiani, whose husband is chairman of the firm, said it was the right time to look at acquisitions and London was a desirable place to make a purchase.

Dubai-based Landmark Group operates 900 stores in more than seven countries and says it has a turnover in excess of $3.8bn. In September, it bought the Italian-themed restaurant chain Carluccio's for $139m.

Micky Jagtiani also said on Wednesday that plans continued to launch a Landmark initial public offering in Saudi Arabia.

"I think we can do it next year," he said. "We have been considering it for a while but there were a lot of hurdles ... The hurdles are because we will be the first foreign company to have an IPO in Saudi."

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