Sale of Hamleys Toy Store Chain to Chinese Firm Points to Trend in Heritage Brand Deals

The sale of the iconic Hamleys toy store chain highlights the continued interest of Chinese companies in acquiring heritage brands, Arena Wealth Management S.A CEO Thorsteinn Olafsson said today.  Chinese footwear retailer, C Banner International Holdings Limited, purchased the trading group that operated under the famous Hamleys brand from Ludendo Enterprises UK Limited. Arena, the advisor to Ludendo on the deal, is an investment advice and asset management company regulated by financial authorities in Luxembourg.

Mr. Olafsson said the environment was ripe for further high profile deals involving Chinese firms and global brands. The Hamleys deal was originated in 2014 by Itamar Har-Even and Michael Joseph while at their prior firm, a Hong Kong based investment firm.  Mr Har-Even said: “This a prime example of working across borders and cultures to achieve a strong outcome for all parties. M&A activity in the heritage brand space is a trend that we believe will continue to develop globally.”

Mr. Olafsson said: “The deal was a challenging and multifaceted transaction that required us to bridge a cultural divide. The team involved worked tirelessly to deliver a quality outcome.”

Rudolph Hidalgo, who was responsible for leading the transaction for Ludendo, said: “I was very impressed with the ability of Misters Olafsson, Har-Even, Joseph and team to manage the multidimensional challenges presented by a transaction that spanned France, the U.K., Hong Kong and the P.R.C.”

Mr. Joseph said Chinese buyers of heritage brands had the latitude to be substantially more aggressive in any deal-making process due to the major potential synergies offered by their home market.

Gudjon Reynisson, CEO of Hamleys, said: “China, and East Asia in general, are key markets for expansion. This deal will unlock substantial future growth opportunities for the Hamleys brand.”