British toy shop Hamleys sold to French firm

Last updated 08:58 18/09/2012

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British toy retailer Hamleys, controlled by failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki, has been sold to French group Ludendo for about £60 million (NZ$117m), a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Family-owned Groupe Ludendo itself said on Monday it had added the 252-year-old Hamleys business, which calls itself ''the world's most famous toy retailer'', to its portfolio of over 300 stores in five countries.

It did not give a value for the deal.

''Hamleys will give us the platform to accelerate our international development starting with the UK and into new markets,'' chairman Jean-Michel Grunberg said on Monday.

Hamleys, established by Cornishman William Hamley in London in 1760, has its flagship store in London's Regent Street and is one of the more popular tourist attractions in the capital's West End entertainment district, with seven floors of toys brought to life by an army of demonstrators.

Outside London, Hamleys operates in Glasgow and Dublin, and has a travel store format at Heathrow and Stansted airports and St Pancras railway station. It also has stores in seven overseas markets, including Dubai and India.

Hamleys was taken off the London Stock Market by Icelandic retail group Baugur in 2003. When Baugur collapsed in 2009 its stake was taken over by Landsbanki. In March Landsbanki sold its stake in British supermarket group Iceland, returning proceeds to creditors.

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- Reuters

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