Fundex Games Acquired by Private Equity Firm Propel Equity Partners
Propel Equity Partners, a private equity firm, has acquired Fundex Games Ltd., a leading maker of popular games. The assets of Fundex Games will be incorporated under the Ideal and Poof brands of Poof-Slinky, Inc., makers of toys under the Slinky, Poof, Ideal, and Scientific Explorer brands. Poof-Slinky, Inc. was acquired by Propel Equity Partners in July.
Haba to Distribute Lilliputiens Line in the U.S.
Haba is now the exclusive U.S. distributor of Lilliputiens products for babies and toddlers. Lilliputiens is based in Belgium and its toys are made by hand in Asia. The toys, patterns, fabrics, and characters are designed by a team of five young, trend-conscious moms. Lilliputiens’ characters each have their own magical universe. The toys are made of soft materials and the many shapes, colors, and noises are intended to engage kids’ imaginations.
Among the Lilliputiens products is The Ophelie Collection, which features Ophelie and her four chicks. Mother Ophelie is a puppet for larger hands, and the chicks, each embroidered with numbers one to four, are finger puppets. Parent and child can use the puppets in role-playing and color matching games. Other products include The Romeo Collection. Romeo is a toad, made from a variety of textured materials, that rattles, tinkles, and croaks. In the toad’s mouth there are intricately designed creatures such as a squeaking fish, a textured crab, colorful many-armed jellyfish, and a crazy fly.
Sun-Mate Signs Distributor Agreements for The Jungle Book Toys
Sun-Mate Corp., the master global toy partner for The Jungle Book, is expanding its network of worldwide partners with the announcement of a slate of toy distributor agreements for the Jungle Book brand in key global territories.
Sun-Mate has confirmed five new international distributor agreements. New partners include Hunter Leisure, Australia; Flash Toys, Latin America; Haka, New Zealand; Prima Toys, South Africa; and MC Entertainment, Benelux. Sun-Mate will provide marketing support to each company, providing a TV advertising campaign and promotional spots produced by Sun-Mate.
Sun-Mate is also the North American master toy licensee for the brand. SMC holds the North American rights for home entertainment, licensing, merchandising, and promotional rights. SMC also secured the master toy rights for The Jungle Book for Australia and New Zealand and all licensing and merchandising for South Africa. DQ Entertainment (DQE) is the producer and global rights owners of new The Jungle Book animatedTV series.
New Organization Seeks to Help Specialty Retailers Connect
This month marks the launch of Brixy, a new community of independent retailers in the juvenile industry looking to support sustainable growth in the specialty channel.
Brixy is currently focused on building a community of retailers for retailers. The organization will help retailers connect in order to share new ideas and information. Brixy members will have multiple ways to connect: via message boards, annual meetings and workshops, peer groups, and support from the Brixy staff.
For manufactuerers and sales representatives, Brixy seeks to improve members’ payment track record through improved cash flow and increase sales volume through a unified scale and national marketing to consumers. Brixy plans to give manufacturers a network of retailers for help with product development, beta testing new products or packaging, and forecasting.
For more information about Brixy, visit www.brixy.com.
Jazwares Partners with Art Impressions for So So Happy Toys
Jazwares has partnered with Art Impressions (AI) to create So So Happy figures, plush, and accessories. The line, which will be available in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa beginning in the spring, will feature the property’s characters, including Lucky, Ozzie, Taco, Mad Dog, and Tribe.
Jazwares’ So So Happy line will include 5-inch bean bag plush, 12-inch plush, plush character backpacks, and figures. Ten percent of all proceeds from the toy line will go to organizations that encourage, educate, and support young people worldwide.
Wicked Cool to Develop Toy Line Based on The Wiggles
U.S. toymaker Wicked Cool has signed a master toy license for the children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles. Wicked Cool will manufacture, distribute, and market a broad range of toys for preschoolers based on the children’s property to coincide with The Wiggles’ debut of its new cast and worldwide tour.
Under the agreement for North America and Australia facilitated by The Wiggles’ licensing agency, Brandberry, Wicked Cool intends to develop plush and musical instruments. The Wiggles line targets children ages 2 to 6, and is expected to launch at retail beginning in the fall.
Ball, Bounce & Sport, Inc. (Hedstrom) Acquires Regent Sports Corp.
Ball, Bounce & Sport, Inc., dba Hedstrom, has completed the acquisition of the assets of the sporting goods and game company Regent Sports Corp.
Regent comes to Hedstrom with an extensive array of products. As a manufacturer of baseball, basketball, billiards, darts, dartboards, outdoor games, soccer, table games, and tailgate items, Regent Sports has provided children and families with high-quality sporting goods for more than 70 years. Hedstrom is proud to continue to offer these products to their consumers.
This extension to Hedstrom’s existing range of products will help to round out the markets and consumers that Hedstrom serves. The active nature of all Regent products complements Hedstrom’s existing product lines in the toy and fitness divisions. Hedstrom plans to leverage its retail and global distribution channels to extend Regent’s presence in the retail environment.
Callaway Digital Arts and Hasbro Release Mr. Potato Head App
Callaway Digital Arts, Inc., has collaborated with Hasbro, Inc., to develop the new interactive children’s app Mr. Potato Head Create & Play for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Available now in the App Store, Mr. Potato Head Create & Play is a touch-based mobile app that brings the classic character to life.
Featuring a 3-D character, customization options, and user-controlled animations, Mr. Potato Head Create & Play lets players embark on silly adventures that are full of surprises. Players can also capture and save moments as photos and young players can enjoy dressing up Mr. Potato Head with dozens of parts and outfits.
Popstar Club Launches New Line of Pop Star Dolls, Original Music
The Beatrix Girls, a new line of collectible pop star dolls driven by original music, will debut in major national retailers this year. With fully developed personalities, band members Brayden, Ainsley, Lark, and Chantal produce real music. Kids can collect their music, join their fan club, and vicariously live out their fantasies of being pop stars.
The line was conceived and is being brought to market by Sherry Gunther, a two time Emmy Award-winning producer and studio executive, having worked on The Simpsons, Rugrats, and Family Guy. Gunther is also a pioneer in digital media content for kids, having launched two online virtual worlds. Working with Gunther is Mary Mueller, an entertainment industry brand ambassador who specializes in the family and children’s category. She has launched marketing and licensing programs for brands including Kid Rhino, Warner Bros.; John Tesh, PolyGram Records; and MGM Studios brands.
The Beatrix Girls songs are written and produced by a platinum song-writer and producer.
Three International Trade Fairs to Open January 7 in Hong Kong
More than 2,500 exhibitors from around the world are expected to participate in three international trade fairs opening January 7 and continuing through January 10 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair and the HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair are organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The development council and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. will jointly organize the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair.
The 39th annual Toys & Games Fair expects some 1,900 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions, including six country and group pavilions: the Chinese mainland, Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, and World of Toys. The fair will include the new Kidult World Zone, featuring toys and games for adults from 80 exhibitors. A seminar on kidult product development will take place on January 7.
The fourth annual Hong Kong Baby Products Fair will feature approximately 410 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions. Brand Name Gallery is back with 36 exhibitors, 10 more than the fair’s previous edition. The World of Strollers and Gear, a new addition, expects more than 100 exhibitors, and Baby Fashion Avenue will welcome more than 30 exhibitors. A seminar on the retail outlook for baby-care products on the mainland and in Europe will take place on January 7.
The 13th annual Hong Kong International Stationery Fair expects about 220 exhibitors from 17 countries and regions, including three group pavilions: Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. A variety of topical seminars will also take place.
For more information, visit HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair, and Hong Kong International Stationery Fair.