The owner of the French department store group Printemps, Italy’s Borletti Group, has entered exclusive talks with Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, Qatari Holdings (owner of Harrods in the UK) to discuss a takeover.

However, last week the tussle for Printemps took a new turn. France’s largest department store group, Galeries Lafayette, is trying to join the process and after an initial offer of E1.6bn (£1.4bn) was rejected, has come back with a E1.8bn (£1.5bn) counter-offer.