Hanoi (VNA) – A Thai retailer and an Austrian property company have acquired luxury British store chain Selfridges in a deal that a source close to the matter said was worth around 4 billion pounds (about 5.4 billion USD), AFP reported.

Selfridges was sold by the Canadian wing of the billionaire Weston family to Thailand's Central Group and Austrian real estate company Signa Group. Currently, Central Group and Austrian investor Rene Benko's Signa together own department stores in Germany, Italy, Denmark and Switzerland.

The acquisition covers 18 leading department stores including Selfridges in London, Manchester and Birmingham, de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland. With Selfridges, they hope to build a luxury department store empire, complemented by an online business.

Founded in 1908, Selfridges was purchased in 2003 by the Weston family for 598 million pound.

Central Group is owned by the Thai billionaire Chirathivat family and has scores of malls, electronics, grocery and 24-hour convenience stores across Thailand.

The firm has been on an ambitious overseas spending spree in recent years -- acquiring or partnering with luxury brands in Italy, Germany and Switzerland./.