Toys R Us Files for IPO

Toys”R”Us, Inc. announced that it has filed a preliminary registration statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. It is anticipated that the offering will consist of newly issued shares sold by Toys”R”Us, Inc.; however, the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. The company expects to use the net proceeds it receives from the proposed offering primarily to pay down certain existing indebtedness, and the remaining net proceeds, if any, for general corporate purposes.
Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan, BofA Merrill Lynch, and Credit Suisse are serving as joint book-running managers and representatives of the underwriters for this proposed offering. Deutsche Bank Securities, Citi, and Wells Fargo Securities are also acting as joint book-running managers.

Target Debuts New Video Game Department Layout

Target is introducing a new open layout for its consumer electronics and video game departments, aiming to give visitors a convenient, enjoyable shopping experience with easy access to information and products. The new layout includes a video game section that will be expanded by 30 percent; a large, open format that will include new product-accessible fixtures organized by platform and game genres; and a majority of stores will include video game Learning Centers and Trial Stations.

The new Learning Centers will feature a 40-inch high-definition touch screen where guests can read reviews, learn about game features, sort by ESRB ratings, view in-store price and inventory, receive recommendations on best sellers, or page a team member for assistance. Trial Stations will allow guests to try out the latest titles before they buy.

Learning Express Plans to Open Up to 20 New Stores

After the success of opening 14 new locations and 12 temporary “pop-up” stores for the holiday season (five of which remain open with short-term leases), Learning Express plans to open 17-20 new toy store franchises in 2010. Exact locations have yet to be decided and the company is actively seeking additional applicants.

Demographic studies, says the company, indicate that Learning Express stores would thrive in locations throughout Long Island, NY. The areas include Glen Cove, Port Washington, and Great Neck on the North Shore; Rockville Centre, Garden City, and the Five Towns, Merrick and Long Beach on the South Shore; Hempstead, Commack, and Woodbury in central Long Island; and towns such East Hampton, South Hampton, and Bridge Hampton on the eastern tip.

DreamWorks Announces Ogre-Whelming Licensee Support for Shrek Forever After

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. has announced a full slate of promotional partners and licensees in support of Shrek Forever After, which opened in theaters on Friday.

Among the Shrek Forever After licensees are Activision for video games; Hasbro Games for a line of classic Shrek games and puzzles; Penguin for a variety of storybooks; Rubie’s Costume Co. for Halloween costumes; and VTech, which continues to feature Shrek in new key hardware systems and will launch the character Shrek on the MobiGo & FLiP platforms. Playmates, the master toy partner for Shrek Forever After, offers a full array of toys ranging from figures and plush to dolls and role play toys.

For more information, please visit www.dreamworksanimation.com/shrek.

Mascots Unveiled for London 2012 Olympic Games

London 2012 Olympic Games organizers have unveiled two alien-like creatures, Mandeville and Wenlock, as the mascots for the 2012 Games.

Looking for something that would engage kids, London 2012 organizers created a cartoon and teamed with children’s writer Michael Morpurgo to create a background story for the characters. According to the story, Out of the Rainbow, Wenlock and Mandeville were crafted by Grandpa George from the last drops of steels used to build the Olympic Stadium.

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VM Global Signs as Licensee for Jeep

The Joester Loria Group, on behalf of Chrysler Group, LLC, has signed VM Global as the licensee to manufacture and market non-battery powered, foot-to-floor ride-on toys under the Jeep brand. The toys will depict the likeness of the Jeep Wrangler.

VM Global plans to release the first shipment of Jeep toys in September and distribute them to mass market retailers, mid-tier chains, specialty, and sporting good stores in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Author Todd Parr Teams with Sesame Street For Animated Segment

Children’s author Todd Parr and Sesame Street’s creative team are collaborating to produce a one-minute segment for the show that will be designed to help children deal with their innate childhood fears. The animated segment will debut on the 41st season (2010-2011) of Sesame Street and will be written and designed by Parr.

Parr is known for taking potentially complex subject matter and making it kid-friendly. His title, The Peace Book, explains to children the meaning and some aspects of world peace, and his most recent title, The Earth Book, deals with the environment and ecology.

Parr has recently announced he has teamed with Stouffer’s to release a limited-edition children’s book entitled Let’s Fix Dinner. The book, published by SupperTime Entertainment (Parr’s worldwide marketing/licensing partner), will be released this August.

Photo credit: HachetteBookGroup.com

California Creations’ Z Wind Ups

California Creations is introducing new wind up toys under its line, Z Wind Ups.

Above is a video of Lizzie (split dancer, Sliders brand), Tucker (chimp, Not So Grand Band brand), Spacy (special function of “No Fall”), Molly (cabbage patch dancer, Noggin Bops brand), and Sasha (spinning marine mammal, Spinners brand).

Look at them go!

“WordGirl” Nominated for Three Emmy Awards

Scholastic Media’s WordGirl has been nominated for three 2010 Emmy Awards, the third year the series has been nominated.  The series is nominated for “Outstanding Children’s Animated Program,” “Outstanding Writing in Animation,” and “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program” for Ed Asner’s performance as Kid Potato. In 2008, WordGirl won an Emmy Award for “Best Writing in Animation.”

The series airs five days a week on PBS KIDS GO!. New episodes are set to air in July.

The Daytime Emmy Awards will be telecast on June 27th on CBS from the Las Vegas Hilton.

Walker Books Announces New Where’s Waldo Publishing Program

Classic Media has appointed The Walker Group, consisting of Walker Books UK, Candlewick Press, and Walker Books Australia, to create a new global publishing program for the popular Where’s Waldo? books.

This first-ever spin-off program for Where’s Waldo? will feature new material that will be released across a variety of formats. The new range, to debut in 2012 in honor of Waldo’s 25th birthday, will be designed to complement the original Where’s Waldo? collection, which was designed by Martin Handford.