Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Reliance Industries' subsidiary acquires iconic British toy retailer Hamleys

Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani has snapped up the storied British toy store Hamleys from its Chinese owners for $88 million the latest in a dizzying splurge of retail acquisitions. — Reuters  File India's Reliance Industries buys global toy retailer Hamleys
Russell Knight | 10 May, 2019, 21:30

Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), has signed a definitive agreement with C Banner International, a Hong Kong-listed company, to acquire 100% shares of centuries-old British toy retailer Hamleys for £68 million.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani has snapped up the storied British toy store Hamleys from its Chinese owners for US$88 million (RM365.5 million), the latest in a dizzying splurge of retail acquisitions.

Reliance Industries, which runs the world's biggest single-location crude oil refinery in western India, has been gradually transforming itself from an energy conglomerate into a consumer group through its retail and telecoms ventures.

Reliance Brands' chief executive, Darshan Mehta, said Hamleys had "pioneered the concept of experiential retailing".

Hamleys, which was founded in 1760 and opened its flagship store on London's Regent Street in 1881, has been something of an worldwide hot potato in recent years.

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Hamleys was introduced in India by Reliance Brands in 2010, with the first store opening at the High Street Phoenix mall in Mumbai. In India, Reliance has the master franchise for Hamleys and operates through 88 stores in 29 cities.

The buy will give RIL a captive market across Asia, Europe and the United States as the company is planning to expand its retail business globally. It already has the licence to sell Hamleys products in India.

In recent years he has massively expanded his retail portfolio, snapping up a string of well-known brands such as Burberry, Canali, Paul Smith, Armani, Just Cavalli and Jimmy Choo.

Set over seven floors, it has an estimated 50,000 lines of toys on sale. It is considered one of London's prominent tourist attractions, receiving over 5 million visitors each year.

Khaitan & Co acted for Reliance Industries.

Reliance Retail includes Reliance Fresh, Reliance Smart, Reliance Market, Reliance Digital, Jio Stores, Reliance Trends, Project Eve, Reliance Footprint, Reliance Jewels, AJIO and other partner brands.

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