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Reliance Industries in talks to buy British toymaker Hamleys - Moneycontrol

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Reliance Industries in talks to buy British toymaker Hamleys - Moneycontrol
FILE PHOTO: Customers stand in front of soft toys at a newly opened Hamleys toy store at Wangfujing Department Store in Beijing, China December 23, 2017. Hou Yu/CNS via REUTERS   -   Copyright  CHINA STRINGER NETWORK(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Reliance Industries Ltd is in talks to buy British toy store chain Hamleys, business news website Moneycontrol reported on Wednesday citing multiple sources, as the Indian conglomerate seeks to expand its footprint in the consumer space.

Reliance Retail, the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries, is “aggressively pursuing the deal”, the website quoted one of the sources as saying.

Due diligence is in advanced stages, the website reported, adding that if the deal went through, Reliance Retail planned to increase the geographic footprint of the 259-year old toymaker in India to about 200 stores over the next three years from around 50 currently.

Reliance Retail currently has the licence to sell Hamleys products in India.

Sky News reported last October that Chinese fashion retailer C.banner International Holdings, which bought Hamleys for 100 million pounds in cash in 2015, was looking to sell it after logging heavy losses.

Reliance Industries, Hamleys and C.banner did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Reliance Industries’ strategy to diversify beyond refining and petrochemicals showed results last quarter, when its fast-growing telecom and retail businesses drove profit to new highs despite its gross refining margins taking a hit amid volatility in oil prices and slowing demand globally.

The group’s retail business saw revenue double to 356 billion rupees in the period, while earnings before interest and taxes more than tripled to 15 billion rupees.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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