The family behind European clothing retailer C&A is planning to sell the company to Chinese investors, according to Der Spiegel. The fashion chain was founded more than 150 years ago in the Netherlands.
Citing unnamed "insider sources," German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday that a deal was close to being finalized between C&A and a group of Chinese investors.
C&A is one of Europe's largest fashion retailers, employing some 35,000 people in the hundreds of stores it operates in European countries as well as in China, Mexico and Brazil.
Brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer founded the company in 1841 when they opened their first clothing shop in the Dutch town of Sneek.
The secretive Brenninkmeijer family still owns C&A through the Cofra Holding company based in Zug, Switzerland.
When contacted by Der Spiegel, Cofra Holding declined to comment on reports of an imminent sale, but said in a statement that C&A was looking into growth opportunities as part of a "transformation strategy."
"The ongoing transformation of C&A includes exploring different ways to enter growth markets such as China, and the digital arena, and that could potentially include partnerships and other types of additional external investment," it said.
With an estimated worth of around €20 billion ($24 billion), the Brenninkmeijers are one of Europe's wealthiest families, according to Der Spiegel.
The magazine added that C&A has sought to boost business in the face of stiff competition from other clothing companies like H&M and Primark.