China tycoon bids for Britain's House of Fraser: Report

LONDON (AFP) - Chinese businessman Yuan Yafei has launched a surprise takeover bid for British department store chain House of Fraser worth 450 million pounds (S$940 million), media reports said on Sunday.

Sanpower, a Nanjing-based conglomerate run and founded by Yafei, is in "advanced talks" to buy the 161-year-old British group, The Sunday Times said without citing its source.

The offer has been accepted by House of Fraser chairman Don McCarthy, whose family controls 20 percent of the firm, the newspaper noted.

The proposals will now be put before House of Fraser's other shareholders, which include Icelandic banks that took stakes following the collapse of investment firm Baugur during the global financial crisis.

House of Fraser, which enjoys annual sales of about 1.2 billion pounds per year, has 61 stores in Britain and Ireland.