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House of Fraser sold to Sanpower for £450m. House of Fraser

British department store House of Fraser is to be sold to China's Sanpower Group in a deal worth about £450m.

The Nanjing-based conglomerate, which was founded by Chinese Business tycoon Yuan Yafei, will purchase an 89% stake in House of Fraser, the BBC reported.

The store has a 164-year history in Britain. It started life as a small drapery shop opened by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur in Glasgow in 1849.

There had been talks between House of Fraser and France's Galeries Lafayette, as well as discussions with Sports Direct founder and current Newcastle United chairman, Mike Ashley, but both failed to materialise.

Across its 61 stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland, House of Fraser has had annual sales of £1.2bn (€1.5bn, $2bn) on average in recent years. The group had also been mulling a share sale while looking for potential buyers.

According to its website, Sanpower controls 100 companies in sectors including banking, retail, media and property. It has a market cap of about £4.8bn.

Yuan Yafei set up Sanpower in 1993 when he was still in his early twenties. The former government official also owns sizeable chunks of consumer electronics firm Hiteker and Nanjing Xinjinkou Department Store.

House of Fraser is the latest British company to find itself in Chinese hands, following Weetabix and luxury yacht manufacturers Sunseeker.