Mukesh Ambani's RIL buys out British toy-maker Hamleys for £68 million

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It is pertinent to note that Reliance already operated 85 Hamleys stores in India under a licensing agreement

Hamleys was set in 1760 and has 167 shops in 18 countries.

Struggling Hong Kong-listed retail operator C.Banner International has sold the Hamleys toy store business to India's Reliance Retail. Reliance Industries operates 88 Hamleys stores across 29 cities in India.

Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani has snapped up the storied British toy store Hamleys from its Chinese owners for US$88 million (S$120 million), the latest in a dizzying splurge of retail acquisitions.

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This acquisition will catapult Reliance Manufacturers to be a dominant player in the worldwide toy retail commerce, the corporate acknowledged.

"This acquisition will catapult Reliance Brands to be a dominant player in the global toy retail industry", the company said in a statement.

Reliance has confirmed a definitive agreement was signed between the two companies yesterday but did not disclose the price it will pay.

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Marking its global foray, Reliance Brands - a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) - has acquired the entire stake in Hamleys Global Holdings that owns the famed United Kingdom toy brand Hamleys from C Banner International.

In 2017, Hamleys closed a number of loss-making stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as it started a restructuring programme after posting a £9.2 million pre-tax loss during the year, citing concerns over Brexit. It started operations in 2007 and now has over 420 stores and 350 shop-in-shops in the premium to luxury segment across segments like fashion and lifestyle product categories. "Some of the big global toy brands are extremely profitable and even on the retailing side so we are quite optimistic", Mehta said.

"Personally it is a long- cherished dream come true", added Mehta.

Hamleys was also reporting losses until recently.

Hamleys was delisted from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2003 when it was taken over by Icelandic investment firm Baugur Group for Dollars 68.8 million.

Hamleys opened its flagship Regent Street London store in 1881. It is a massive store of seven floors and retails around 50,000 toys.

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