On Thursday, Reliance Industries Limited announced its acquisition of the British oldest and world’s largest toy shop Hamley for 67.96 million pounds ( approx. 620 crores) in an all-cash deal.
RIL signed an agreement through its Reliance Brands subsidiary to buy 100% stake in Hamley from Hong Kong-listed C Banner International Holdings. With the buying of the international toy shop, billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries made its first foray in an overseas retail brand.
Through this agreement, Reliance Retail has the license to sell Hamleys products in India.
All you need to know about the old chap
Hamleys is founded in 1760 in High Holborn, London by William Hamley as “Noahs Ark”. The 259 years-old toy shop is known for the oldest and the world’s best-known retailers of toys.
At present Hamleys has 26 stores in the UK alone and globally it has 167 stores across 18 countries. RIL’s Reliance Lifestyle Holdings already operates the Indian franchise of the Hamleys that runs 88 stores in 29 cities in India.
The need for selling Hamleys to India conglomerate is because of the bleak loss in the profits. RIL’s regulatory filings show the toy store net profit of 2.44 million pounds in FY18 after publishing losses of 11.24 pounds in 2017.
Darshan Mehta, President, and CEO of Reliance Brands, in a statement:
“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 on the frontline of global retail”.
“Personally it is a long- cherished dream come true,” he adds.
Other companies who tried to acquire Hamleys
RIL is not alone in the head-to-head race; other companies too tried to buy the 100% stake in the worlds famous toy maker.
- UK’s largest sports goods retailer Sports Direct, founded by British billionaire retail entrepreneur Mike Ashley was in a bid to takeover Hamleys.
- Gary Grant’s The Entertainer, the UK’s largest independent toy retailer was also said to have formally submitted interest in buying Hamleys. The Entertainer runs 144 toy shops across the UK and 400 stores internationally through franchise partners and online.
- Smyths, the Irish toy shop chain also shown interest in making an offer. The Ireland-based multinational chain provider has over 110 shops across Ireland and in the UK.