Hamleys is the subject of bid interest from Gulf Greetings, the owner of rival toy retailer The Toy Store.
Retail Week understands The Toy Store’s owner, which is based in the Gulf, has sent a letter of intent to Hamleys-owner Ludendo signalling its interest in acquiring the famous name.
However, it is understood the interest from The Toy Store has not so far swayed Ludendo away from talks with Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, which appears to be the most likely buyer.
A Hamleys spokeswoman said: “There is always interest in Hamleys but we cannot offer further comment at this stage.”
It emerged in June that Sanpower chairman Yuan Yafei is in talks to buy Hamleys from French business Ludendo.
Sanpower already has some UK interests after acquiring a controlling stake in House of Fraser in April in a deal valuing the department store group at £480m.
The Toy Store is keen to buy Hamleys despite having signed a 27,000 sq ft property on Oxford Street last year in a move that will put it in direct competition with Hamleys’ flagship Regent Street store.
The Oxford Street store will be the Middle Eastern retailer’s first store in the UK and will be located in the West One shopping centre at Bond Street.
The Toy Store revealed in September it was seeking “key locations” across the UK as part of plans to open up to six new stores over the next three years.
Hamleys currently has 10 stores in the UK and is in the process of expanding overseas. In March it opened Europe’s largest toy shop in Moscow that includes a new store-model combining theme park with toy store.
The toy retailer’s 75,000 sq ft shop is at the city’s Lubyanka Square and is poised to become the biggest toy shop in the world in 2016 when Toys R Us closes or downsizes its Times Square store in New York.
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