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Reliance Industries to acquire British toymaker Hamleys
Photo Credit: Reuters

Energy-to-retail giant Reliance Industries Ltd said on Thursday it has agreed to acquire iconic British toymaker Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd for £67.96 million ($88.5 million, Rs 621 crore) in cash.

The deal adds to Reliance's growing shopping basket as the company controlled by India's richest man, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, expands in sectors such as retail, media and telecom to reduce dependence on its mainstay refining and petrochemicals businesses.

Reliance Industries will acquire Hamleys through Reliance Brands Ltd, the brand licensing arm of unit Reliance Retail Ltd, the country's biggest brick-and-mortar retailer.

"The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand places Reliance into the frontline of global retail," Darshan Mehta, president and CEO at Reliance Brands, said in a statement.

Reliance Industries, through unit Reliance Lifestyle Holdings Ltd already operates the Indian franchise of the Hamleys brand and has 88 stores in the country. That's more than half the total 167 stores that Hamleys, which was founded in 1760, has across 18 countries.

Hamleys Global reported a net profit of £2.44 million on consolidated revenue of £62.88 million for 2018. This compares with a net loss of £11.24 million on revenue of £66.27 million for 2017.

Hamleys competes with other reputed players such as Funskool, Lego and Mattel in the growing market for toys in India, the world's second most populous nation.

Reliance's other bets

The company has struck several acquisitions in the past through its units across the retail, media and broadcasting, digital services and technology sectors.

In the retail sector, Reliance last year acquired Rhea Retail Pvt. Ltd, which sells products for children and expectant mothers, for Rs 203.46 crore ($30 million) in cash. The deal was also routed through Reliance Brands.

Reliance Brands has a portfolio of over 40 international brands that span across the luxury, bridge-to-luxury, high-premium and high-street lifestyle segments. These brands include Gas, Diesel, Marks & Spencer and Steve Madden.

Reliance also increased its stake in Genesis Luxury Fashion Pvt. Ltd to over 70% earlier this year. Genesis operates brands such as Armani, Canali and Michael Kors.

Reliance Brands posted a net loss of Rs 4.85 crore on revenue of almost Rs 318 crore for 2017-18, according to the annual report of Reliance Industries.

Apart from fashion and lifestyle, Reliance Retail operates in grocery, consumer electronics and fuel retail segments.

The company operated 7,573 retail stores in more than 4,400 cities across India as of 31 March 2018. It also operated 495 fuel retail outlets, according to the annual report. Besides, it runs e-commerce venture Ajio.com.

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