On Thursday, Mukesh Ambani-helmed Reliance Industries announced that it will acquire the iconic toymaker Hamleys for around Rs 620 crore. Hamleys is currently owned by Chinese fashion conglomerate C Banner International that had 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 per cent shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd, the owner of Hamleys brand, from C Banner International," the company said in a statement.
In a BSE filing, RIL said, "Reliance Brands would acquire 100 per cent equity shares of 'Hamleys Global Holdings Limited (HGHL) for a cash consideration of GBP 67.96 million'."
This acquisition will catapult Reliance Brands to become a dominant player in the global toy retail industry, the company said in a statement.
Here are a few facts you probably don't know about the British toymaker:
1. Hamleys is the largest and the oldest toy retailer in the world. It was founded by William Hamley in High Holborn, London in 1760. The 259-year old toy company was initially called Noah's Ark.
2. Hamleys' flagship store on Regent Street offers more than 50,000 types of toys on sale. Talk about the most enviable toy-train collection!
3. The Regent Street is actually one of London's prominent tourist attractions that receives over 5 million visitors each year.
4. It might be a toy company and a harbinger of happiness for the young ones but its own history has been rife with tribulations. For instance, in 1901, its original High Holborn shop was devastated in a fire. Also during the Second World War, 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 supply goods or services to the royal court.
6. While Hamleys has been operational since 1760, its first outlet outside 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 been moved from one hand to another. In 2003, the toy company was bought by Icelandic company, Baugur Group. After Baugur collapsed, Hamleys went to the Icelandic bank Landsbanki. In 2012, French toy retailer Groupe Ludendo bought Hamleys before it was acquired by Chinese conglomerate C Banner. In has finally been bought by Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.