According to a report, Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, and The Entertainer, the British toy retailer, are among the bidders who are interested in a takeover of Hamleys.
The biggest toy shop in the world has been owned by C.banner, a Chinese fashion conglomerate, since 2015. This morning, however, Sky News reported that the bids are currently being considered for an acquisition of the business.
Smyths, the Irish toy chain, is also said to be interested in making an offer when the bidding formally opens after Christmas.
C.banner is based in Hong Kong. Three years ago, he paid approximately £100 million for Hamleys, however, it now apparently wants only £90 million for the Regent Street store. The amount is the same amount that Sports Direct paid for the struggling retailer House of Fraser last August.
Last October, Hamleys reported a loss amounting to £9.2 million for last year. He claimed that sales had been affected by “Brexit uncertainty, terrorist attacks, macroeconomic pressures and a general erosion in UK consumer confidence.”
Despite the reports that he is interested in acquiring the iconic toy store, Ashley echoed the concerns of Hamley when he informed City analysts yesterday that the big retail names faced being “smashed to pieces” by downturns in spending because of Brexit.
He also launched a scathing attack on Debenhams. He claimed that the retailer has “zero chance” of survival after rejecting a £40 million bid from his company, Sports Direct.
Once a successful bid is made for Hamleys, it will be its fourth takeover in a span of 15 years. Prior to C.banner, the business was owned by Groupe Ludendo, a French company which acquired it from Icelandic shareholders in 2012.
Hamley’s London store was founded in 1760. Aside from it, there are currently 129 Hamleys across the globe, in countries such as India, Germany, Ukraine, China, and Russia.
Sports Direct, The Entertainer, and Hamleys did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding the matter.