Hamleys’ management wants to go private

Finance director Ian Parker and chief operating officer John Watkinson are preparing for a management buyout that could value the toy group at £35m.

Hamleys confirmed to the London Stock Exchange it had given the two managers authorisation to seek financing for a possible buyout, but said matters are at a very preliminary stage and may or may not lead to an offer being made.

Hamleys added that a committee of independent directors comprising chairman Simon Burke and non-executive directors John Napier and Jim Hodkinson will consider any proposal put forward.

Following the news, shares in Hamleys rose to 8pc to 134.5pc after knowing a slump of 25% since November. Industry observers believe a minimum price for handing over control of the group will be 150pc.

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