In India, Reliance has the master franchise for Hamleys and currently operates 88 stores across 29 cities (Photo of Mukesh Ambani by REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas).

INDIAN business tycoon Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) signed a deal to acquire British toy retailer Hamleys for £70 million.

RBL, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) signed an agreement to acquire 100 per cent shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Limited, the owner of the Hamleys brand, from C Banner International, RIL said in a statement yesterday (9).

China’s C Banner International had acquired the Hamleys brand in 2015 from France’s Ludendo Groupe for £100m.

The latest acquisition is the first of an overseas retail brand by Reliance.

Darshan Mehta, president and chief executive officer at Reliance Brands, said; “Over the last few years, we have built a very significant and profitable business in toy retailing under the Hamleys brand in India. This 250-year-old English toy retailer pioneered the concept of experiential retailing, decades before the concept of creating unique experiences in brick and mortar retailing became the new global norm.

“The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business places Reliance into the frontline of global retail. Personally, it is a long cherished dream come true.”

Founded in 1760, Hamleys has over 250 years of celebrated history of being the oldest and largest toy shop in the world.

Globally, Hamleys has 167 stores across 18 countries.

In India, Reliance has the master franchise for Hamleys and currently operates 88 stores across 29 cities.

This acquisition is expected to catapult Reliance brands to be a dominant player in the global toy retail industry.

Hamleys opened its flagship Regent Street London store in 1881. This flagship store is set over seven floors covering 54,000 square feet, with more than 50,000 lines of toys on sale.

It is considered one of London’s prominent tourist attractions, receiving over five million visitors each year.

The toy retailer had registered a £9.2m loss last year.