Author: Jackie Breyer

Tech 4 Kids and The Bridge Merge

Strategic Partnership Aims to Yield Growth and New Opportunities The toy industry is known for its mergers and acquisitions. They say no one leaves the toy industry—they just move around. One of the main reasons for this is the opportunity for growth. While some companies grow slowly but steadily with a hit here and a hit there, some of the most successful companies in this industry got to where they are via strategic acquisitions or mergers. Toy industry giants such as Mattel, Hasbro, Spin Master, and Jakks Pacific show how vital these moves are to taking a company to the next level. The first, critical step is finding a complementary, like-minded company with which to merge. Brad Pedersen, president and CEO of Tech 4 Kids, and Jay Foreman, president and CEO of The Bridge Direct, met at toy industry event PlayCon several years ago, where they were introduced by a mutual colleague. “This is a very social business, and while we all compete in some way, there are always opportunities and synergies that like-minded people can find to make their businesses stronger,” says Pedersen. This year, Pedersen and Foreman will merge The Bridge Direct and Tech 4 Kids into a new company focused on classic play. The new company will have an entirely new name (yet to be determined), and will be managed in North America and Hong Kong by...

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Eight Reasons Why Pokémon Go Is Succeeding Where Toys Have Failed

If you haven’t noticed the runaway success of Pokémon Go this past week, you’re living under a rock. Look outside—all those people looking at their phones, glancing around, and walking slowly into traffic (hopefully not) are playing the hottest new augmented reality (AR) game. The word on the street is that this is the future of gaming. Perhaps it is. But it’s certainly not the first augmented reality game. The toy industry has been taking shots at this category for years with little to no success. At Toy Fair 2012, WowWee introduced its App Gear line. Pop your smartphone into a physical blaster toy, and shoot at enemies who seem to appear in the real world. This type of shooting game would never fly in today’s environment, but it didn’t really fly in 2012 either. But why? Simply overlay a fun game on top of what you see through a smart device’s camera and there you have it: augmented reality. So why is Pokémon Go taking off like it’s the coolest thing we’ve ever seen? I’m betting there are a number of toy industry execs shaking their heads and asking this question. 1. Pokémon is a hot property. Sometimes it takes one of the hottest licenses to give a toy or game the notoriety it needs to get people interested. Pokémon was super hot when millennials were kids, and the...

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Adult Coloring Impact Extends Beyond Toy Industry

The adult crafting trend is carving out new opportunities for the office supplies industry, according to Adult Coloring, Crafting, and the Handmade Movement: An NPD Office Supplies Industry Report, from global information company The NPD Group. Coloring and art supplies are a $1 billion market, with in-store and online sales growing to $75 million combined in 2015. In the arts and crafts paper category, coloring pages, including adult coloring books, is the largest segment based on dollar volume, also seeing the largest store dollar growth in 2015. With paint nights and adult coloring gaining in popularity, sales of complementary products such as colored pencils, gel, and porous pens, painting accessories, and acrylic paint are driving growth within their respective categories. Chalk and chalkboard usage is also influencing industry sales, as these items are increasingly used not only for school, but for businesses, home offices, and home décor. The chalk category saw the largest in-store dollar sales increase in 2015, surpassing crayons. Both dollar and unit sales for chalkboards more than doubled in 2015 compared to the prior...

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NBCUniversal Acquires DreamWorks Animation

NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast Corporation, announced the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation. The studio will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development. Under the terms of the agreement, DreamWorks Animation has an equity value of approximately $3.8 billion. DreamWorks Animation stockholders will receive $41 in cash for each share of DreamWorks Animation common stock. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of DreamWorks Animation and Comcast, and the controlling shareholder of DreamWorks Animation has approved the agreement by written consent.   The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2016. Following the completion of the transaction, DreamWorks Animation CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg will become Chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which will be comprised of the company’s ownership interests in Awesomeness TV and NOVA. Katzenberg will also serve as a consultant to...

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Moose Toys Awarded Partner Award of Excellence by Target

Moose Toys received the 2015 Partner Award of Excellence from Target retailers. The award acknowledges the company for their innovative leadership and good business practices. For Moose Toys, the award completes the trifecta of honors from leading retailer partners in the U.S. In February, the company received the Toy Supplier of the Year award from Walmart, and the Vendor of the Year award from Toys “R” Us. Moose Toys’ most popular products over the years include Shopkins, The Trash Pack, and Mighty Beans. They also won the Toy Industry Association’s Girl Toyof the Year award two years in a row for Shopkins. The company continues to grow its portfolio with brands such as Little Live Pets, Beados, and...

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