Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has signed a definitive agreement with C Banner International Holdings, a Hong Kong listed company, to acquire 100 per cent shares of British toy retailer Hamleys for 67.96 million pounds (around Rs. 620 crore) in an all-cash deal.
Calling it a long cherished dream, Darshan Mehta, President and CEO of Reliance Brands, said, “We have built a very significant and profitable business in toy retailing under the Hamleys brand in India. This worldwide acquisition places Reliance on the frontline of global retail.”
Hamleys, a 259-year-old toy maker, is the largest toy shop in the world with 167 stores in 18 countries and the brand has been struggling to generate profits in recent times. Besides the UK, it has stores in China, Germany, Russia, India, South Africa and West Asia. It reported a profit after tax of 2.44 million pounds in 2018 after suffering a loss of 11.24 million pounds in 2017.
C Banner International Holdings had acquired Hamleys for 100 million pounds in 2015. The firm also owns the Chinese units of marquee consumer retail brands such as Steve Madden and Sundance.
Reliance Retail already has a pan-India franchise agreement with Hamleys to merchandise its famous toys. This acquisition will push Reliance Brands as a dominant player in the global toy retail industry.
“Over the last few years, we have built a very significant and profitable business in toy retailing under the Hamleys brand in India. This 250-year-old English toy retailer pioneered the concept of experiential retailing, decades before the concept of creating unique experiences in brick and mortar retailing became the new global norm,” Mehta said.
Hamleys was delisted from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2003 when it was taken over by Icelandic investment firm Baugur Group for US $ 68.8 million.