Chinese group sells Hamleys toy stores to India’s Reliance

MUMBAI/HONG KONG: Hamleys, the world’s oldest toy retailer, is set to pass from Chinese to Indian control after Reliance Industries Ltd said it had agreed to buy the British high street icon.
Through its Reliance Brands subsidiary, the conglomerate late on Thursday said it signed an agreement to buy the 250-year-old chain from Hong Kong-listed C Banner International Holdings Ltd.
On Friday, C Banner stock was suspended from trading pending an announcement.
Reliance did not disclose the price of the deal, but in 2018, C Banner wrote off $49.8 million in goodwill and brand value related to Hamleys, its annual report showed. The cut reduced the carrying value of the toy retailer by 36 per cent to 626 million yuan ($91.85 million).
The Chinese group bought Hamleys in 2015 for £100 million ($130.2 million) from France’s Groupe Ludendo, but its enthusiasm for British acquisitions has since cooled. Last year, it dropped plans to buy 51 per cent of House of Fraser, sending the UK department store chain into administration. — Reuters