Just last month we noted that Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed had denied reports that the luxe landmark London department store was for sale. Now however in a stunning reversal Al-Fayed has sold the business to Qatar's royal family for more than £1.5 billion, or about $2.2 billion, and announced his retirement, the London Times reports. Harrods, the largest and one of the most luxurious stores in the world, holds royal warrants from the likes of the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales.
The bid from the Qatar Holding company was accepted because they would "maintain the traditions of Harrods", Ken Costa, chairman of Lazard International, the investment bank advising the family trust on the deal, told the paper. "After 25 years as chairman of Harrods, Mohamed al-Fayed has decided to retire and to spend more time with his children and grandchildren," Costa notes, adding, Fayed "wished to ensure that the legacy and traditions that he has built up in Harrods would be continued". Last year Harrods won a Readers' Choice Luxist award for Best Department Store.