Reliance Brands Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industry Ltd., acquired British toy retailer Hamleys for £67.96 million (about ₹620 crore) in an all-cash deal, the company said on Thursday. Reliance Brands signed an agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd from Hong Kong-based C.banner International, Reliance Industries said in a statement.
Hamleys is the oldest and the largest toy shop in the world having 167 stores across 18 countries. In India, Reliance Retail has the master franchise for the brand and operates 88 stores across 29 cities.
Hamleys went through a rocky patch in 2000s. According to various media reports, the toy brand was delisted from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2003, in the same year when an Icelandic investment firm Baugur Group had bought the company for $68.8 million.
Then, in 2012, it was sold for $78.4 million to France-based Groupe Ludeno. In 2015, a Chinese fashion conglomerate C Banner International acquired Hamleys for £100 million in a cash deal from the french group.
Hamleys was also reporting losses until recently. RIL’s regulatory filings show the Hamleys reported net profit £ 2.44 million ($ 3.13 million) in FY18 after reporting losses of £ 11.24 million ($ 14.8 million) in 2017.
In a statement, 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. 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. 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,” Mehta added.