Hamleys sold to Indian conglomerate

Reliance Industries acquires historic toy retailer from Chinese owner C.banner for nearly £70m in cash

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 10.05.2019 | Retail

Hamleys sold to Indian conglomerate thumbnail

Hamleys has been sold to Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries by its Chinese owner C.banner in a deal worth nearly £70m.

Reliance Industries, one of India’s most valuable companies headed by the billionaire Mukesh Ambani, will pay £67.96m in cash for the toy retailer.

Reports last month suggested talks between the two businesses were in the late stages, though no official confirmation was given.

Hamleys will now be operated by Reliance Industries’ retail arm Reliance Brands, already Hamleys biggest franchisee with 88 stores across India. The new purchase will be a landmark for the company, according to Reliance Brands CEO Darshan Mehta.

“The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business places Reliance into the frontline of global retail,” he says. “Over the last few years, we have built a very significant and profitable business in toy retailing under the Hamleys brand in India.”

The sale follows a rocky four years for C.banner, which purchased Hamleys in 2015, but has struggled with losses and a rotating door in its c-suite. The retailer’s finance chief exited the business half a year ago and was followed out the door earlier this year by chief executive Ralph Cunningham. Hamleys delivered a loss after tax of £8,642,000 for the full-year 2017, citing the “difficult” state of retail and external factors such as high rents and foreign currency rates, a year after delivering over £1m in profit.

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