Ambani buys UK’s toy store Hamleys for $88 million

Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has bought the world’s oldest and largest toy shop Hamleys for $88 million.

Reliance Brands Limited, which is owned by Ambani, struck a deal to buy the London-based firm from China’s C Banner International which had acquired it in 2015.

Reliance Brands Limited said late on Thursday that the acquisition of the 259-year-old Hamleys, which runs 167 stores across 18 countries, was a dream come true.

Hamleys, which suffered a loss of £9.2 million last year, blamed it on Brexit and terrorism threat.

Its 138-year-old, seven-storied store showcasing some 50,000 toys in London’s Regent Street still draws thousands of shoppers.

Reliance Industries already operates some 88 Hamleys stores across 29 Indian cities.

The business empire of Ambani, 62, has over the years expanded from oil refining and petro-chemicals to telecoms, cable networks and tech companies.

In recent years, he expanded his retail business wing by acquiring brands such as Burberry, Canali, Paul Smith, and Armani.

He is now competing with Amazon and Walmart to dominate India’s retail market.