The Entertainer to acquire Mothercare's Early Learning Centre business
Toy retailer The Entertainer has agreed to acquire Mothercare’s Early Learning Centre business in a deal worth up to £13.5 million.
Early Learning Centre operates within 80 UK Mothercare stores, 400 international stores through franchise partners, and online through its website. The acquisition also includes its portfolio of toy brands such as Happyland.
Mothercare said the funds raised from the disposal will be used to reduce its bank debt over the next year. It also said it did not have the “necessary capital, resources or scale” to invest and develop own brand Early Learning Centre toys.
Meanwhile, Mothercare is retaining ownership of approximately £6 million worth of Early Learning Centre inventory items that it intends to sell over the next few months.
Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of Mothercare, said: “This disposal of Early Learning Centre provides a further step towards eliminating our bank debt, and our new concession arrangements with The Entertainer will bring our customers an even stronger Toys offer, both in stores and online. We look forward to working with the team at The Entertainer in the years to come.”
The move follows a year of growth for The Entertainer in which it opened 16 new stores in the UK and five overseas. It also added 57 stores to its international portfolio by acquiring Spanish toy retailer Poly.
Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer, said: “We are delighted to add ELC to The Entertainer family. It comes with a rich history as a much-loved British brand, supporting parents and grandparents with their children’s early years’ learning, development and play. We will look to bring new life to the product offering whilst maintaining the high level of quality ELC is renowned for.”
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