Hamleys is sold to French for £60m

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The Independent Online

A French company has acquired Hamleys, the 252-year-old toy retailer, in a deal worth £60m, and vowed to press ahead with its international expansion in Asia and the Middle East.

Groupe Ludendo, a family-owned business with more than 300 stores in five countries, including France, Spain and Belgium, has bought Hamleys after the winding-up committee of the failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki put its majority shareholding in the chain up for sale.

Jean-Michel Grunberg, chairman of Ludendo, which owns the La Grande Recre and Fran Carl Weber retail brands, said: "We have every intention of maintaining this unique brand and what it stands for, and building on its successful international development."

The family of David "Spotty" Rowland, the property developer and Tory donor, have sold their minority stake as part of the £60m transaction. Hamleys was founded in 1760 and has traded on Regent Street since 1881. It has 22 stores, including in Dublin, Edinburgh, Dubai, India and Russia. Its underlying profits rose by 21 per cent to £5.6m for the year to 26 March 2011.