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UK toy retailer Hamleys to remain public

Hamleys’ search for a private equity investor is over. The group says it has received unrealistic offers and will remain listed.

British toy retailer Hamleys has called off talks on a possible takeover offer and decided to remain a public company, Reuters reports.

“The board has concluded that shareholders’ best interests are served by the company remaining a public company and accordingly confirms that it is no longer in discussions with any party which might lead to an offer”, the group said in a statement.

Shares in the company fell by eight pence to 141p, valuing the company at £29m, upon the news.

It is believed that Hamleys had been approached by private equity firms including Apax Partners and Charterhouse Development Capital. The group had better-than-expected Christmas results, which saw like-for-like sales rise by 10 per cent in the five weeks to December 2000, and was persuaded to remain a public company.

Simon Burke will step down as the group’s CEO but will remain as chairman. Ian Parker has been named as the group’s new finance director.