A customer carries a Hamleys Plc shopping bag during the opening of the company’s new toy store at the Antara Mall in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Reliance Brands Buys British Toy Retailer Hamleys From C Banner

Reliance Brands Ltd., an arm of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., bought 260-year-old British toy retailer Hamleys.

The company has bought a 100 percent stake in Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd. from C Banner International, a Hong Kong-listed company, according to an exchange filing, for £67.96 million. That’s roughly Rs 620 crore.

The worldwide acquisition of Hamleys brand and business will place Reliance in the frontline of global retail, Darshan Mehta, president and chief executive officer of Reliance Brands, said in the statement.

Dhanraj Bhagat, consumer and retail partner at Grant Thornton, said the acquisition of Hamleys is in line with Reliance’s strategy of expanding into various consumer oriented segments. “This acquisition in particular will give Reliance a position in the global consumer space and gain visibility in the toy market”.

To put that in perspective, the global toy market stood at $89 billion in 2017, according to data by NPD Group, a U.S.-based market research company. Sales in global toy industry, however, declined 2 percent last year, the research firm said.

In 2015, C Banner had acquired the British toy retailer in a £100-million deal from France Ludendo Groupe as part of its strategy to expand beyond its mainstay footwear business. Fashion conglomerate C Banner owns brands like MIO and United Nude. It also sells Steve Madden products through a joint venture.

Before the deal, Reliance Industries’ retail arm Reliance Retail had the licence to sell Hamleys’ products in India.

The transaction did not require an regulatory approvals, according to the filing. “The investment does not fall within related party transactions and none of company’s promoter, promoter group or group companies have any interest in the transaction,” it said.