Alex Brands has acquired French toymaker Juratoys, marking the toy company’s first move into Europe. Juratoys, the parent company of European toy brands Janod and Kaloo, is based in Orgelet, France, and has offices in the U.K., the U.S., Hong Kong, and China. The news was reported by Propel Equity Partners, which backs Alex Brands.
Founded in 1970, Janod’s wooden toys are well known throughout Europe. The company expanded into North America 18 months ago, and its products are sold through premium retailers such as Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as on amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble. Kaloo is a high-end brand that makes plush products and stuffed toys geared toward infants.
With the Juratoys acquisition, Alex Brands will be able to use Juratoys’ European distribution centers for its U.S.-based toys, and the French toy company can use Alex Brands’ U.S. capabilities to expand further stateside. The firm also acquired a distributer based in the U.K., which will begin business as of June 1, to be used as a foothold for Alex Brands as well as for Juratoys.
“This is a milestone event for Alex Brands because it’s been our goal to become more of a global player and also strengthen our brands,” says Michael Cornell, Propel chairman and chief executive.
“The toy industry, which had a couple of soft years recently, surprisingly saw 4% of growth last year, and this year looks to be no different,” says Neil Friedman, president and chief executive of Alex Brands.