The debt-laden parent company behind luxury department store Selfridges has filed for insolvency this morning after a last minute scramble to raise extra funds failed.
Signa, which is owned by Austrian billionaire Rene Benko, made the filing today in Vienna, admitting it could not find the “necessary liquidity”.
A statement, first published on the Financial Times read: “Despite considerable efforts in recent weeks, the necessary liquidity for an out-of-court restructuring process could not be sufficiently secured.”
Signa also owns the Chrysler building in New York and a host of department stores in Ireland.
The company acquired Selfridges as part of a joint venture last year in a £4bn joint deal with Thai conglomerate Central Group which put roughly £1.7bn in debt on the two firms.
Earlier this month, shareholders ousted Benko from his firm and he is now fighting for control over his £20bn empire.
He has suffered a number of professional and personal setbacks including having his offices raided by the Austrian police. Benko has denied wrongdoing and was not charged.
Fears over the future of Signa have left many analysts speculating that it could lead to the sale of London’s most iconic department stores.
However, the retailer previously told The Sunday Times that trouble at Signa does not change anything for Selfridges.
They said at the time: “Selfridges trades independently of any support from its shareholders.
“We are delighted to have the ongoing and unwavering support of Central Group. We are very focused and excited by the Christmas period and welcoming our customers into our stores for an exceptional experience.”
City A.M has contacted Selfridges and Signa for a comment.