The 255 year old toy retail shop Hamleys is set to be sold to C.banner International Holdings, a Chinese footwear company for an estimated £100 million. Hamleys is currently owned by a French individual, who confirmed that negotiations have reached an advanced stage. Hamleys released a statement yesterday afternoon on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange confirming that the ‘process of negotiation and finalising the definitive documentation’ was underway.
The move to Chinese ownership is the latest step in the store’s turbulent ownership history. In the past 10 years ownership has been passed between Icelandic and French hands numerous times. It was first floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2003, but was bought by Icelandic retail investor Baugur for £59million. C.Banner International have cited Hamley’s strong cultural brand as part of its plan to diversify its business. C.banner International currently specialise in women’s footwear brands, notably MIO and Sundance. Despite its change of ownership, Hamleys has shown little sign of lack of growth. New stores have opened in Moscow, Manchester and Glasgow, with ambitions to expand to the US.