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London's Harrods department store sold to Qatar Holding for a reported 1.5 bn pounds ($2.2 bn)

LONDON - Mohamed Al Fayed, a flamboyant businessman who has controlled Harrods department store in London for a quarter-century, has sold the landmark business to Qatari investors, his financial advisers said Saturday.

LONDON - Mohamed Al Fayed, a flamboyant businessman who has controlled Harrods department store in London for a quarter-century, has sold the landmark business to Qatari investors, his financial advisers said Saturday.

The sale price was not announced but the BBC and Sky News reported that it was around 1.5 billion pounds ($2.2 billion).

The Al Fayed family trust agreed to sell Harrods Group to Qatar Holding, Lazard International confirmed.

Al Fayed, a native of Egypt, joined with his two brothers to buy Harrods in 1985.

His son Dodi died with Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997, and in recent years Al Fayed has devoted much time and money to pursuing his claims that the couple were the victim of an establishment conspiracy.

"After 25 years as chairman of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed has decided to retire and to spend more time with his children and grandchildren," said Ken Costa, chairman of Lazard International.

"He has built Harrods into a unique luxury brand with worldwide recognition. In reaching the decision to retire, he wished to ensure that the legacy and traditions that he has built up in Harrods would be continued, and that the team that he has built up would be encouraged to develop the foundations that he has laid."

Qatar Holding will be the fifth owner of Harrods since Henry Charles Harrod started the business as a small grocery shop opened in 1849.

Qatar Holding is an investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority.

"It is a privilege for us to acquire Harrods, a unique company that combines an iconic luxury brand and one of the most prestigious retail properties in the world with best-in-class financial metrics," said Ahmad Mohammed Al Sayed, chief executive officer and managing director of Qatar Holding.

 
 
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