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India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani buys Hamleys Britain’s iconic toy store

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance picks up iconic 259-year-old British toy store Hamleys

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India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has sealed another iconic deal. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance picked up iconic British toy retailer Hamleys. Reliance Brands Ltd. agreed to purchase the 259-year-old British toy store chain Hamleys from C.Banner International Holdings Ltd. for £69 million (Rs 620 crore).

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Hamleys, which was founded in 1760, is the world’s oldest toy retailer and has 167 stores across 18 countries. China’s C Banner International had acquired it 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 percent shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd, the owner of Hamleys brand, from C Banner International.” the company said in a statement.

Darshan Mehta, the CEO of Reliance Brands Limited, said, “The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand…. is a long cherished dream come true.”

Reliance Industries already operates 88 Hamleys stores across 29 Indian cities

Hamleys had last year reported a £9.2m loss, blaming it on Brexit and terrorism. It had opened four stores in the UK but later closed two of them. However its flagship store in London’s Regent Street, set over seven floors, it has an estimated 50,000 lines of toys on sale continues to be one of the city’s major attractions.

Ambani is forming a network of partners through stake purchases or outright acquisitions in the race with Amazon and Walmart for a slice of India’s growing online shopping market. Morgan Stanley estimates that India’s growing online shopping market will be valued at $200 billion by 2028.

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