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Thursday, October 22, 2015, 15:28

HK fashion retailer to buy British toy shop Hamleys

By Reuters
HK fashion retailer to buy British toy shop Hamleys
People walk past The Hamleys toy store on Regent Street in central London, on Oct 22, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / NIKLAS HALLE'N)

HONG KONG - Hong Kong-listed women's footwear retailer C.banner International Holdings will buy 255-year-old British toy shop Hamleys for around 100 million pounds ($154.32 million), a source with direct knowledge of the deal said on Thursday.

The deal for the iconic British retailer, known as the oldest toy shop in the world, comes a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed close ties with Britain at the start of his state visit to the country.

Some of London's most famous shops have been snapped up by non-British investors. Qatar Holdings owns Harrods; Hong Kong-based Dickson Concepts owns Harvey Nichols; House of Fraser, a nationwide department store chain, is owned by China's Sanpower Group; and Royal tailor Gieves & Hawkes is part of Hong Kong-listed Trinity Ltd.

C.banner will announce the deal shortly, the source said, declining to be identified because the deal is not yet public.

A spokesman for C.banner declined to comment.

Founded in 1760, Hamleys is best known for its landmark shop on London's Regent Street but has branched out abroad in recent years, opening in Moscow this April despite an economic crisis in Russia.

The British toy shop, where Queen Elizabeth bought toys for her children, has been in foreign ownership since 2003 when it was acquired by Icelandic investment firm Baugur after a bidding war with a British-based buyer.

C.banner describes itself as the second largest retailer of middle-to-high-end women's formal and leisure footwear in China. The company counts Nobel prizewinner for economics, Myron Scholes, among its shareholders, it said in a press release in August.

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