The property of the Berlin luxury department store KaDeWe now belongs entirely to the Thai Central Group. The previous owner, the insolvent Signa Prime Selection, and the group had reached an agreement for the complete acquisition, Central announced on Friday. The “Handelsblatt” had previously reported on it. According to Berlin’s Economics Senator Franziska Giffey (SPD), the Central Group is paying one billion euros for the building on Berlin’s Tauentzienstrasse.

Among retail experts, the Thai group of companies is also one of the candidates for the complete takeover of the KaDeWe Group, i.e. the actual department store business in the renowned property on Tauentzienstrasse. So far, Central holds 50.1 percent of it, 49.9 percent belongs to the troubled Signa Group of the Austrian businessman René Benko.

“We are pleased to add KaDeWe Berlin to our portfolio of traditional flagship luxury properties. The additional capital investment demonstrates our family’s commitment to KaDeWe Group and our loyal customers, employees and business partners in Europe,” said Central Managing Director Tos Chirathivat of the message. “We will continue to work with everyone involved to find the best possible solution so that our department stores can resume normal operations – better and stronger than before and as quickly as possible.”

According to the statement, the Central Group remains “in discussions with the management of the KaDeWe Group and the creditors and is confident that, as the new owner of the Berlin property, it will be able to reach agreement on the acquisition of further assets and thus initiate an orderly exit from the insolvency proceedings.”

In addition to the KaDeWe in Berlin, the KaDeWe group also includes the Oberpollinger in Munich and the Alsterhaus in Hamburg. At the end of January, the group filed for self-administration bankruptcy. Business operations continue.

Berlin’s Senator for Economic Affairs Giffey described the takeover of the KaDeWe property by the Thai Central Group as “good news for KaDeWe and for Berlin”. “My team in the Senate Economic Administration and I have had intensive discussions with everyone involved about the future of KaDeWe over the last few weeks and months. The Thai Central Group has made its long-term interest in KaDeWe very clear,” wrote Giffey on Facebook. The takeover is “a clear sign of a secure future for our iconic Berlin department store.”

The “Department Store of the West” is significantly older than the Cold War that its name sounds like. It was opened on March 27, 1907 – in what was then an upper-middle-class residential area away from the shopping mile at Potsdamer Platz. In 1927, founder Adolf Jandorf sold to the Jewish merchant family Hermann Tietz. During the Nazi era, the owners were forced out of the management and the merchant family’s name became “Hertie”.

In 1943, an American plane crashed into the KaDeWe and the building was in ruins. The new beginning came in 1950; during the Adenauer era, the department store became a symbol of consumption and purchasing power. For the 100th birthday party, the Berliners stormed the house in March 2007 and picked up pieces of a 6.50 meter high giant cake.

The KaDeWe has 60,000 square meters of shopping space in the middle of the capital – the equivalent of around eight football fields with high-quality clothes, shoes, handbags and delicatessen. In addition to fans of luxury goods, thousands of tourists also make their way to the renowned building every day. The department store was most recently renovated over the years from 2016 at a cost of tens of millions of euros. The Galeries Lafayette are leaving Berlin in the summer – this means that KaDeWe will have one less luxury competitor in the capital in the future.