Mumbai: Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, sealed another deal to expand his retail footprint and add heft in a battle with Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. in India.
Reliance Brands Ltd. agreed to purchase the 259-year-old British toy store chain Hamleys from C.Banner International Holdings Ltd. for an undisclosed amount, the unit of Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. said in a statement late Thursday. The transaction would “catapult Reliance Brands to be a dominant player in the global toy retail industry,” it said.
The acquisition is the latest in a string of purchases in Ambani’s push into the consumer business, which he says will contribute nearly as much as to the conglomerate’s total earnings as its core energy business by the end of 2028. Adding Hamleys would give Reliance 167 stores across 18 countries. The company is already a master franchisee of the toy store in India, where it operates 88 outlets.
The Tiny Deals Behind Mukesh Ambani’s Bid to Take on Amazon
For Hong Kong-listed C.Banner, the sale would mark a retreat from the U.K. after the Chinese company last year dropped plans to purchase a majority stake in House of Fraser, a struggling department store chain that was rescued by Sports Direct International Plc. In 2015, C. Banner paid 100 million pounds ($130 million) for Hamleys, which was founded in 1760 and opened its London flagship store in 1881.
Ambani is stitching together a network of partners through stake purchases or outright acquisitions in the race with Amazon and Walmart for a slice of India’s growing online shopping market, which Morgan Stanley estimates will be valued at $200 billion by 2028.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.