New Delhi: Reliance Industry on Thursday acquired British toy retailer Hamleys. Reliance Industries, which runs the world’s biggest single-location crude oil refinery in western India, has been increasingly transforming itself into a consumer-facing giant through its retail and telecoms ventures.
The company signed an agreement to buy Hamleys from Hong Kong-listed C Banner International Holdings. Reliance did not disclose the price, but in 2015 C Banner had bought it for 100 million pounds ($130.2 million) from France’s Groupe Ludendo.
This agreement marks the first acquisition by the richest man of India- Mukesh Ambani in an overseas retail brand.
CEO of Reliance Brands, Darshan Mehta, said, “The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business places Reliance into the frontline of global retail.”
Hamleys was founded in 1760, resonates with a sense of nostalgia for adults and children alike, with its flagship Regent Street store in Central London recognised around the world.
There are 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.
Reliance’s retail business doubled revenue to 356 billion Indian rupees ($5.1 billion) in the three months to Dec. 31 while earnings before interest and tax more than tripled to 15 billion rupees.