Suitors circling for Liberty after building sold for £41m

LIBERTY yesterday said it is being pursued by more than one suitor after the West End department store confirmed it had sold its building for £41.5m in a leaseback scheme.

The company sold the freehold interest in the 125,000-square foot store, off Regent Street, to private property investment firm Sirosa.

Liberty will take a 30-year lease on the building at an initial annual rent of £2.1m, with five yearly fixed rent reviews. The firm, which is 68 per cent owned by property group MWB Holdings, was set up 135 years ago.

The deal still depends on the agreement of MWB and other investors.

Meanwhile Liberty admitted that it has been the target of more than one takeover approach.

A statement yesterday said: “Liberty confirms that it has received approaches which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company.

“At this stage, it is too early for the board to determine whether or not these discussions will result in any formal offer being made for the company.”

The company has said that the sale of the building will not affect any talks in connection with a takeover bid for the business. Liberty has not identified the takeover contenders.


CAVENDISH Corporate Finance is one of the advisers to Liberty in its negotiation over potential takeover bids.

The company describes itself as the “UK’s leading independent specialist adviser to vendors of businesses.”

Founded in 1988, Cavendish has advised on 400 company sales with an aggregate value in excess of £3bn.

Its clients include private companies, financial institutions and fully listed public companies with typical transactions usually within the £10m to £200m “mid-market” value range.

Managing partner Howard Leigh leads the team.

He graduated in economics and after a short spell in UK merchant banking, joined Deloitte Haskins & Sells where he qualified as a chartered accountant.

Leigh transferred to the corporate tax department where he further qualified with the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

In early 1986, he established Deloitte's mergers and acquisitions group and developed an expertise in company sales.

In May 1988 he left to set up Cavendish Corporate Finance. 

He is a frequent lecturer, author and broadcaster on mergers and acquisitions and has written the “Good Practice Guideline: Selling a Business".

And he is vice president of M&A International, the world's leading independent and largest corporate finance network which covers more than 40 firms in 30 countries. He also chairs a number of charitable bodies.