The battle for Irish department store Arnotts has come to an end after Fitzwilliam Finance Partners acquired its rival Apollo’s 50% stake.

  • Fitzwilliam Finance Partners acquires rival’s 50% stake in Irish department store Arnotts
  • Both Fitzwilliam and Apollo have been vying to buy each other out of the deal
  • Fitzwilliam’s successful bid is unlikely to have been for less than €100m (£70m)

Businessman Noel Smyth’s Fitzwilliam Finance Partners and US group Apollo both owned half of the Dublin department store, and the two have been looking to buy each other out for more than a year.

But Apollo’s partner BlueGem Capital – which also owns the Liberty department store in London – pulled out of the proceedings last month. That left Fitzwilliam clear to take control of the deal. It has now been revealed that Smyth’s investment company bought out Apollo’s 50% stake.  

Fitzwilliam Finance Partners said: “We are pleased that we have reached agreement with Apollo concerning the purchase of their stake in Arnotts.  We will continue with our plans to develop Arnotts as an iconic retail destination and look for opportunities to develop the adjacent property portfolio surrounding the store as market conditions continue to improve.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Apollo said: “We believe this is a positive outcome for all stakeholders in Arnotts, which should allow for a reduction in the Company’s existing debt burden and further investment and growth in the business.”

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is reported that Apollo would have been unlikely to sell its stake to Fitzwilliam for less than €100m (£70m).

Fitzwilliam originally acquired its 50% stake by buying Arnotts’ €140m (£100m) loans from Ulster Bank at the end of 2013.

At the time it was understood that Canadian billionaire Galen Weston, who also owns Selfridges, provided the financial backing to Fitzwilliam, but it is unclear whether that was the case with the recent deal. The Irish Independent reported that UK-based billionaires the Livingstone brothers backed Smyth on this occasion through their firm London & Regional.

Apollo had previously bought €230m (£165m) of Arnotts’ loans from Anglo Irish Bank in order to secure the other 50% stake.