Sweet Suite 2016

VTech to Acquire LeapFrog in $72 Million Deal

VtechLFVTech will acquire 100 percent of the outstanding common stock of LeapFrog through an all-cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger. In the tender offer, VTech will offer LeapFrog investors $1.00 per share for LeapFrog’s Class A and Class B shares, which represents a 75.4 percent premium over the closing price of LeapFrog’s Class A shares on February 4, 2016. The total purchase consideration amounts to approximately $72 million. VTech will fund the tender offer through internal resources.

The tender offer will commence on or around March 3, 2016, and will be open for a minimum of 20 business days. The closing of the transaction is subject to satisfaction of certain conditions set forth in the merger agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. LeapFrog’s Board has agreed to unanimously recommend to its stockholders that they tender their shares of LeapFrog common stock pursuant to the tender offer. [Read more...]

Hasbro and Mattel in Merger Talks

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 1.52.52 PMBloomberg is reporting that Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. have held talks about merging two of the world’s biggest toymakers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Hasbro approached Mattel about a potential transaction late last year, and the companies have held on-and-off talks about a deal, the people said. Representatives for Mattel declined to comment, while representatives for Hasbro didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mattel shares rose 4 percent to $33.03 today, valuing the company at about $11.2 billion. Hasbro rose 1.6 percent to $76.19 after climbing as high as $78.45, valuing the company at about $9.5 billion.

Last week, Mattel unveiled Barbie dolls with a wider array of body types and skin tones in an effort to expand the brand’s appeal. Hasbro is the toy licensee for Disney’s top properties, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney Princess, and Disney Frozen.

BREAKING: Patch Enters STEM Category with Acquisition of Roominate

6de77f60-394a-44e0-97da-1e5bbd023cb7Patch Products expands from puzzles, toys, and games into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) category with the acquisition of Roominate. STEM has become a prominent topic within the toy industry, as it builds and supports education through play. [Read more...]

Super Impulse Expands into Blaster Category

Super Impulse, the company behind the World’s Smallest line, is set to release Precision RBS (Rubber Band System), a new twist on traditional foam dart blasters, in the spring.

BACK CORNER CHIRONPrecision RBS is a line of rubber band launchers that allows for safe and intense fun. Super Impulse says that the Precision RBS line with feature more ammo, more power, and more accuracy than any other launchers currently on store shelves. The company will launch the brand with various events hosted across North America throughout the year. [Read more...]

Global Toy Sales Rise Seven Percent

Toy industry sales are up 7 percent overall (January-September 2015) across 11 global markets, according to The NPD Group. Russia, Mexico, and Poland show growth that surpasses established markets, with double-digit growth through the third quarter of this year.

Russia is showing the fastest growth among the markets that NPD tracked globally. Despite the country’s high inflation, Russian consumers are spending more money on toys and are buying more of them. The largest super-category in Russia is building sets, which has been growing 50 percent faster than the rest of the toy market. [Read more...]

You’re a Box Office Hit, Charlie Brown!

unnamed-1The Peanuts Movie launched in the U.S. this past weekend to box office success. The film earned $45 million over its first weekend, and will roll out globally to 100 countries over the next six weeks.

Digital efforts leading up to the movie launch included the PeanutizeMe website. To date, more than 6 million characters have been created. The Wah Wah machine brought the iconic Peanuts “adult voice” into the digital age. There is also a designated Peanuts Movie Sticker Pack on Facebook.

Peanuts has also invaded the toy aisle, where the property hasn’t had much presence in the past, with Just Play’s Happy Dance Snoopy leading the charge. Peanuts Worldwide/Iconix Entertainment recently announced that Peanuts shorts based on the strip will be on air in the U.S. on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

This December will mark the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and consumers can expect to see special events surrounding this milestone, including a new TV special hosted by Kristen Bell airing on ABC focusing on the enduring power of the original special. In additional news, Snoopy will fly in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Peanuts gang will star in Macy’s holiday windows, and Snoopy will serving as Macy’s 2015 Holiday Ambassador.

TIF Celebrates 1 Million Hours of Play

TIFThanks to Toy Industry Foundation’s (TIF) Play Pledge, families have promised to support their kids with more than 1 million collective hours of play so far this year. In celebration of this milestone, TIF is donating $10,000 worth of new toys to kids in need.

COMMENTARY: Positive Outlook for 2016

After attending the TIA’s Fall Toy Preview in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, I feel confident that 2016 is going to be an even better year for the toy industry. While the show floor seemed quieter than in years past, the majority of companies I met with were upbeat and excited for holiday 2015 and the year ahead. A number of my meetings were cut short due to drop-ins by Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Toys “R” Us buyers, which is always a good sign.

The industry is expected to be up approximately 6 percent this year, and I expect this success to carry over to 2016. I saw a higher than usual number of new lines, and interesting expansions of successful products, proving that manufacturers are riding high on the wings of rising sales, leaving them willing and able to take some risks. [Read more...]

ASTRA Names Kimberly Mosley Its New President

Kimberly MosleyKimberly Mosley, MBA, CAE has been appointed president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), its board of directors announced today.

[Read more...]

The Queen’s Treasures Offers Dr. Jane Goodall-Licensed Line

The Queen’s Treasures Goodall Tent with Cot and Doll

This September, children will be able to reenact the true story of Dr. Jane Goodall, whose pioneering research on wild chimpanzees helped change the way human beings perceive animals. The Queen’s Treasures has created a rainforest camp for 18-inch dolls, featuring a canvas tent and canvas cot reminiscent of the ones Goodall used at Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania.

[Read more...]