London: Hamleys, the 255-year-old UK toy store, is getting a new owner after Chinese footwear seller C.Banner International Holdings Ltd. agreed to acquire the retailer for $153 million.

C.Banner is buying the company from the UK arm of Ludendo, a French toy-shop operator that has owned Hamleys since 2012. It will fund the deal with internal resources and bank financing, according to a statement on Thursday.

The acquisition of Hamleys will help Nanjing, China-based C.Banner diversify away from its footwear business and is the first significant step in expanding outside its home market. Hamleys, which opened its London flagship store in 1881, now has dozens of stores across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

C.Banner has said it will expand the Hamleys brand into other department stores and remains in talks to partner with UK chain House of Fraser, according to the statement. Bloomberg

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