Groupe Ludendo, which runs toy stores across France, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain, is in talks to buy Hamleys, the Sunday Times said, in a deal that could be agreed by the end of the month.
Hamleys is mainly owned by nationalised Icelandic bank Landsbanki, which took over Baugur’s stake when the investment group collapsed in the recession.
It has already auctioned businesses such as Iceland, the frozen food seller, but it has reportedly not invited any more offers for Hamleys since receiving an approach from Ludendo. Bracken, a private equity group run by financier David Rowland, who is one of Britain’s richest men and a Tory party donor, owns a minority stake.
The toy shop chain, which has eight outlets in the UK and Ireland, opened its flagship store on Regent Street, in London, in 1881.