18 September 2012 10:27
Britain's most famous toy shop, Hamleys, was today sold to a French firm for an estimated £60 million.
The 250-year-old Hamleys has eight outlets in the UK and Ireland, including its seven-storey flagship store on London's Regent Street. It was mainly owned by nationalised Icelandic bank Landsbanki, which took over Baugur's stake when the investment group collapsed in the recession.
Its new owner is family run Groupe Ludendo, which operates 300 toy stores across France, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain.
Ludendo chairman Jean-Michel Grunberg said: "We have the utmost respect for the Hamleys brand and heritage, as well as the unique interactive retail environment of fun, entertainment and theatre that it has created.
"We have every intention of maintaining this unique brand and what it stands for, and building on its successful international development."
Hamleys has two stores in London, and others at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports, Glasgow and a designer outlet in York.
In total it has 22 stores, with other outlets in Denmark, Jordan, Dubai, India and Cyprus, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Ludendo owns brands such as Franz Carl Weber and said today's acquisition will help it double its store portfolio over the next four years.