Selfridges’ billionaire owners, the Weston family, have launched a formal auction to sell the historic department store business.
It is understood that advisers at Credit Suisse will start looking for a buyer, with the company valued at as much as £4 billion.
They will send out information memoranda – documents used to pitch the target to potential bidders – to begin the process, which could be completed by the end of the year.
It was first reported last month that the retail business could be sold after an unnamed bidder approached the Westons, who own a majority stake in Primark owner Associated British Foods, with a move to buy Selfridges.
Selfridge’s runs 25 outlets worldwide, including its flagship Oxford Street store and Birmingham site within the Bullring.
The firm was founded in 1908 but has been controlled by the Weston family since 2003, who took it private in a fiercely fought £600 million takeover.
The deal was led by W Galen Weston, who died in April aged 80 having stepped down chairman of Selfridges Group two years earlier to make way for his daughter Alannah Weston.