Billionaire owner of House of Fraser eyes Hamleys buy out

Yafei, chairman of Nanjing-based firm Sanpower is in talks to buy the famous shop from its French owner, Groupe Ludendo.
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The billionaire owners of House of Fraser are in talks to purchase Britain’s 255 year old toy store, Hamleys.

The purchase by Yuan Yafei is set to be the latest Chinese acquisition on Britain’s High Street.

Yafei, chairman of Nanjing-based firm Sanpower, is in talks to buy the famous shop from its French owner Groupe Ludendo.

Last year, Sanpower bought out the department store chain House of Fraser and now plans to open a string of stores across China.

Yafei’s growing empire now spreads across finance, property, media, transport and IT and employs around 30,000 people with assets worth nearly £5billion.

Hamleys first opened in London in 1760 under the name Noah’s Ark with the flagship moving to its current location on Regent Street in 1881 when its name changed to Hamleys.

The retailer has expanded since it was purchased by the French firm in 2012 and now has close to 40 stores around the world, including Mumbai, Moscow and Saudi’s capital Riyadh.

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