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Wed 19 Dec 2007 11:18 AM

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Dubai eyes British high street crown jewel

Department store chain Debenhams could be bought by Landmark Group, report says.

Troubled department store chain Debenhams soared more than 10% in trading yesterday after it released a statement stating Milestone Resources, the investment arm of Mahesh “Micky” Jagtiani’s Landmark Group, had acquired a 7.4% stake in the company, and could be poised to buy it.

The Dubai-based Landmark Group has retail stores across India and the Middle East.

A report in UK newspaper The Times noted shares in Debenhams closed up 8.3%, or 6.25 pence (13 cents), at 81.75 pence ($1.64) on the day following the announcement.

Debenhams' shares have fallen sharply since re-floating in May 2006, fueling speculation that it could fall into the hands of an investor looking for a bargain. Its shares are currently trading 57% below their value at the start of 2007, The Times notes.

Sentiment about British retailers has taken a beating since the onset of fears about the impact of the credit crunch on the British economy.

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