On Thursday, Reliance Industries, at the head of Mukesh Ambani, announced that it will acquire iconic toy maker Hamleys for around Rs 620 crore. Hamleys is currently owned by Chinese fashion conglomerate C Banner International which bought the toy company in 2015.
“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% of the shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd, Hamleys brand owner, of C Banner International, ”the company said in a statement.
In a BSE filing, RIL said: “Reliance Brands will acquire 100% of the shares of ‘Hamleys Global Holdings Limited (HGHL) for cash consideration of £ 67.96million’.”
The acquisition will catapult Reliance Brands into a dominant player in the global toy retail industry, the company said in a statement.
Here are some facts you probably don’t know about the British toy maker:
1. Hamleys is the world’s largest and oldest toy retailer. It was founded by William Hamley in High Holborn, London in 1760. The 259-year-old toy company was originally called Noah’s Ark.
2. Hamleys flagship store on Regent Street has over 50,000 types of toys for sale. Talk about the most enviable collection of toy trains!
3. Regent Street is in fact one of the main tourist attractions in London which receives over 5 million visitors each year.
4. It may be a toy business and a harbinger of happiness for the younger ones, but its own history has been strewn with hardships. For example, in 1901 his original store in High Holborn was devastated by fire. Also during World War II, the Regent Street store was bombed five times.
5. In 1938, Queen Mary gave Hamleys a Royal Warrant, which was followed by a Royal Warrant in 1955 given by Queen Elizabeth. A royal warrant of appointment is issued to traders who provide goods or services to the royal court.
6. While Hamleys has been operational since 1760, its first outlet outside of Europe was opened in Amman, Jordan, in 2008. The first outlet in South Asia opened in Mumbai in 2010. Hamleys now has 88 stores across the country.
7. In recent years, Hamleys has gone from hand to hand. In 2003, the toy company was acquired by the Icelandic company Baugur Group. After the collapse of Baugur, Hamleys turned to Icelandic bank Landsbanki. In 2012, French toy retailer Groupe Ludendo bought Hamleys before it was acquired by Chinese conglomerate C Banner. In was eventually acquired by the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.
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