Hamleys becomes the latest plaything of French group Ludendo

Another iconic British brand was passed from one foreign owner to another yesterday with the announcement that Hamleys was being sold by Icelandic bank Landsbanki to Grupo Ludendo, the French toy retailer.

This is another chapter in the ongoing ownership saga of Hamleys, which ceased being British-owned in 2003 when Baugur, the Icelandic investment house, backed the existing management in taking the company private in what turned out to be an ill-fated deal. Baugur subsequently collapsed in 2009 and Landisbanki took over the debt and majority holding in Hamleys.

Although not actually British-owned, Hamleys is viewed by many tourists as an “iconic” British retailer in the same vein as Harrods. Whilst the price that Ludendo is paying for Hamleys has not been disclosed, the deal brings eight Hamleys stores located in the UK and Ireland, along with others in the Middle East and Scandinavia into Ludendo’s portfolio, and will enable them to capitalise on a globally recognised brand.

Filed under: Iceland, retail, UK, dealmaking