The Entertainer, Smyths and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley are all said to have expressed interest in a takeover of Hamleys.
Sky News has issued a report which claims that several retailers have told advisers to C.banner International, the current owner of Hamleys, that they are considering bids for the business. These retailers are said to include The Entertainer, Smyths and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.
Formal bids for Hamleys are not due until after Christmas, reflecting the importance of the festive trading season to the company’s fortunes.
Hong Kong-listed C.banner, which paid about £100m for Hamleys three years ago, is said to want about £90m for the company, which reported a multimillion pound annual loss in October.
If a deal does take place, it would be Hamleys’ fourth change of ownership in 15 years following a succession of largely failed attempts by a range of international shareholders to expand the renowned brand globally.
One insider said that the strategic review had prompted expressions of interest in buying Hamleys from around the world.