Reliance Brands Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has acquired British toy retailer Hamleys, for Rs 620 crore (67.96 million pounds) in an all-cash deal.
It is currently owned by Chinese fashion conglomerate C Banner International, which had acquired it for 100 million pounds in 2015. C Banner also owns the Chinese units of marquee consumer retail brands such as Steve Madden and Sundance, a PTI report said.
Through its Reliance Brands subsidiary, the company signed an agreement to buy Hamleys from Hong Kong-listed C Banner International Holdings.
"Reliance Brands Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, and C Banner International Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed company, today signed a definitive agreement for Reliance Brands to acquire 100 percent shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd, the owner of Hamleys brand, from C Banner International," the company said in a statement
The acquisition marks the first foray of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries in an overseas retail brand.
"Reliance Brands would acquire 100 percent equity shares of "Hamleys Global Holdings Limited (HGHL) for a cash consideration of GBP 67.96 million", RIL said in a BSE filing.
"The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business places Reliance into the frontline of global retail," said Darshan Mehta, chief executive of Reliance Brands, Reuters said.
"Over the last few years we have built a very significant and profitable business in toy retailing under the Hamleys brand in India. This 250-year old English toy retailer pioneered the concept of experiential retailing, decades before the concept of creating unique experiences in brick and mortar retailing became the new global norm," Mehta said, according to PTI. Personally, it is a dream come true, he added.
Reliance Retail has the licence to sell Hamleys products in India.
Founded in 1760, Hamleys resonates with a sense of nostalgia for adults and children alike, with its flagship Regent Street store in Central London recognised around the world.
Hamleys has withstood global recessions, and World War bombings and has changed hands several times, the latest being the 2015 sale by Groupe Ludendo.
The toy seller runs 167 stores across 18 countries, the majority of which are in India. Reliance, which owns the master franchise, operates 88 Hamleys stores across 29 Indian cities.
This flagship store is set over seven floors covering 54,000 sq ft, with over 50,000 lines of toys on sale. It is considered one of London's prominent tourist attractions, receiving over 5 million visitors each year.
Having established itself as India's leading telecom player, Reliance Industries has been firming up plans for a major retail onslaught to combine its traditional outlets with an online foray aimed at taking on Amazon and Walmart in India.
It is already the country's biggest bricks-and-mortar retailer in terms of revenue and number of stores.
The conglomerate's strategy to diversify beyond refining and petrochemicals has began to bear fruit, with its fast-growing telecoms and retail operations driving quarterly profit to record highs despite its gross refining margins taking a hit from oil price volatility and slowing global demand.
The group's retail business doubled revenue to Rs 356 billion ($5.1 billion) in the three months to 31 December while earnings before interest and tax more than tripled to Rs 15 billion.
--With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: May 10, 2019 08:07:25 IST