Hamleys offloads Bear division

US chain Build-A-Bear Workshop is buying Hamley’s-owned UK competitor, The Bear Factory in  a £23.8 million cash deal.
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The deal is expected to be completed in the next few weeks. Build-A-Bear will acquire 28 Bear Factory stores in the UK and one in the Irish Republic. Under the deal the St. Louis-based firm will also acquire UK franchisee Amsbra.

The Bear Factory, which opened its first store in 2000, reported retail revenue of £22.2 million last year. Amsbra reported retail revenue of £3.4 million last year and became a Build-A-Bear franchisee in May 2003.

The Bear Factory, will rapidly increase Build-A-Bear's UK brand presence, said Build-A-Bear CEO and chairman Maxine Clark.

"The UK market is one with an exciting growth profile and combining forces with our Amsbra partners is a natural fit," Clark said.

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