Reliance toying with stake buy at Hamleys

New Delhi: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is in talks to buy centuries-old British toy retailer Hamleys as the company expands its presence in the consumer space, sources said.

Currently, Reliance Industries’ retail arm Reliance Retail has the licence to sell Hamleys’ products in India.

Reliance Industries is said to be aggressively pursuing the deal and due diligence for buy-out is in advanced stages, sources said. When contacted, Reliance declined to comment on the issue.

“As a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours. Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis,” a Reliance Industries spokesperson said.

In 2015, China’s C.banner International had acquired Hamleys in 100 million pound deal. In October last year, Sky News reported that C.banner International, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, had launched a strategic review of loss-making Hamleys and was looking to sell it. Hamleys was founded in 1760.

In the past few years, Reliance Industries has been diversifying beyond its core business of refining and petrochemicals and has emerged a strong player in the telecom and retail businesses.

Reliance Retail reported an over two-fold jump in its pre-tax profit to Rs 1,680 crore for the December 2018 quarter.

Reliance Industries also plans to get into the e-commerce space and intends to launch an online shopping platform for small retailers to take on Amazon and Walmart-controlled Flipkart.

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