QIA division snaps up London luxury store Harrods

Qatar Holding, the direct investment division of the Qatar Investment Authority, has purchased the world famous Harrods store in London for £1.5 billion. The purchase is part of a wider strategy to aquire "prestigious top performing businesses".

Qatar Holding, an investment division of the Qatar Investment Authority, has purchased Harrods, the world famous department store, from long-time owner, the Egyptian entrepreneur Mohammed al-Fayed.

According to multiple reports, Qatar Holding, which was incorporated as the $65 billion sovereign wealth fund’s prime vehicle for strategic and direct investments, has paid approximately £1.5 billion (€1.72 billion; $2.24 billion) for the Knightsbridge store.

In a Financial Times report, Qatar Holding chief executive Ahmed al-Sayed, told the newspaper the purchase was part of a strategy to purchase “prestigious top performing businesses and to buy them at the right part of the cycle”. Qatar Holding has also previously purchased stakes in Barclays, Credit Suisse, Porsche, Volkswagen and the Canary Wharf Group.

The purchase of Harrods is the latest in a significant spending programme targeting landmark assets by the state of Qatar. Last month, the sovereign wealth fund agreed the purchase of the 103-room Raffles Hotel in Singapore in a deal reportedly worth $275 million. That deal was conducted by its real estate-focused arm, Qatari Diar, which also purchased a 40 percent stake in Fairmount Raffles, the hotels group which owns and operates 123 hotels worldwide.

Towards the end of last year, Qatar Holding also increased its holding in Songbird, the AIM-listed company that owns large swathes of Canary Wharf, the business district in East London, to 24 percent, at a cost of £350 million.