The Indian conglomerate owner of Hamleys is offering a 40 per cent stake in its retail subsidiary to Amazon, according to reports.
A person familiar with the matter says the US web retail giant could pay up to $20bn for the interest in Reliance’s retail arm. The deal would create the first true omnichannel retail heavyweight in India, where the majority of consumers still shop locally in small stores.
In an email to Bloomberg News, a spokesperson for Reliance said: “As a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours. Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis. We have made and will continue to make necessary disclosures in compliance with our obligations."
Reliance Industries purchased Hamleys from C.banner last May in an all-cash deal worth nearly £70m. It already operated close to 90 Hamleys stores in India as the toy retailer’s biggest franchisee.
Hamleys CEO David Smith stepped down at the end of last month after just seven months in the role.
Amazon owner Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man, while Reliance Industries owner Mukesh Ambani is Asia’s richest man, with a net worth north of $85bn.