Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), on Thursday said it is acquiring UK-based toymaker Hamleys from C.banner International.
In a late Thursday evening statement, the company said that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent shares of Hamleys Global Holdings, the owner of the Hamleys brand, from C.banner International.
Hamleys has about 167 stores across 18 countries. In India, Reliance has the master franchise for Hamleys, and currently operates 88 stores across 29 cities.
“This acquisition will catapult Reliance Brands to be a dominant player in the global toy retail industry,” the company said in a statement.
As is known, Reliance plans to launch an e-commerce marketplace later this year that will sell everything from food, fashion to toys and this acquisition will perfectly fit into its strategy.
Hamleys is currently owned by Chinese fashion conglomerate C.banner International, which had acquired it for £100 million in 2015. C.banner also owns the Chinese units of marquee consumer retail brands such as Steve Madden and Sundance.
The Chinese company has been looking to cut its losses and sell off Hamleys after logging heavy losses, according to a report in Sky News last year in October.
Hamleys started with a single-store shop, Noah’s Ark, in 1760, around the time when the British East India Company was ruling India.
In 2003, Hamleys was delisted from the London stock market by Icelandic investment firm Baugur Group, which had paid $68.8 million for the company. In 2012, it was sold for $78.4 million to France’s Groupe Ludendo.
Hamleys reported losses of £12 million in 2017, when it last reported its financials.
Commenting on the development, Darshan Mehta, president and CEO of Reliance Brands, said, “Over the last few years, we have built a very significant and profitable business in toy retailing under the Hamleys brand in India. The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business, places Reliance into the frontline of global retail. Personally it is a long cherished dream come true”. —FE