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Chinese Shoe Company To Buy British Toy Store Hamleys

A leading Chinese shoe company said it will buy Britain’s iconic toy retailer Hamleys for £100 million ($153 million), as the group pursues global expansion.

Chinese firm C.banner International Holdings, which primarily manufactures and sells ladies’ footwear, first announced the possible deal last week when Chinese president Xi Jinping was on a state visit to Britain focused on bolstering business and trade ties between the two countries.

C.banner said it entered into an agreement to purchase the “entire issued share capital of Ludendo Enterprises UK”, which operates the Hamleys brand after it was purchased by France’s Groupe Ludendo in 2012, in a statement released late Thursday.

“The strong brand of Hamleys will greatly enhance the company’s competitive advantage,” C.banner’s chairman Chen Yixi said in the statement.

The Nanjing-based Chinese enterprise, which has a market capitalisation of around $752.2 million, said it is pursuing a new global branding initiative and business diversification plan.

“Hamleys possesses international background and extensive experience in the global retail industry…which contributes significantly to the company’s future overseas expansion,” it said.

The well-loved British toy retailer first opened in 1760 and has been expanding internationally, opening stores in locations ranging from Moscow to Dubai.

A clutch of business contracts said by British Prime Minister David Cameron to be worth almost £40 billion ($61.6 billion) were announced during Xi’s visit, as well as the launch of the first yuan-denominated bond in London as China seeks to internationalise its currency.

Xi said that China and Britain would collaborate in financial services, rail and energy infrastructure, as well as emerging sectors such as bioenergy, smart cities, information technology and e-commerce.

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