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Barclay family considering sale of Shop Direct – report

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The Barclay family is considering the sale of Liverpool-headquartered retailer Shop Direct, according to a report in The Times.

The family, which owns the Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspapers, is reviewing its multibillion-pound portfolio of British investments and financial advisers are expected to be appointed to value the businesses.

Shop Direct has annual sales of more than £1.9bn and was created through the merger of Littlewoods and the mail order business of GUS. According to the report, Aidan and Howard Barclay, sons of Sir David, are keen to remain investors in the business, despite a recent hit from the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.

One option being considered is to sell a 25% stake in the business to a sovereign wealth fund or private equity buyer, with members of the Barclay family retaining 75%.

Sir David and his twin Sir Frederick are estimated to be worth £8 billion at No 17 in The Sunday Times Rich List.

Slimming down the portfolio of investments will generate the capital to allow the “buyout” of some family members, according to insiders, and the family hopes that the review can be completed within 12 to 18 months.

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