March 23, 2010

K’NEX Signs on to Produce Roary Building Sets

Roary the Racing CarK’NEX Brands has signed a licensing deal with Chapman Entertainment and HIT Entertainment to manufacture and market a line of construction toys based on the Sprout series, Roary the Racing Car.
K’NEX will produce Roarybuilding sets, including buildable figures and buildable vehicles. The sets will be available at mass retailers in the U.S. and Canada in fall 2011.
Last month, it was announced that Bandai America was named the U.S. master toy licensee for the Roary brand. Bandai will manufacture a full line of Roarytoys, available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores.

Senario Files Formal Complaint for Patent Infringement

Senario, LLC has filed a formal complaint against Novelty, Inc. of Greenfield, Ind. for infringing on Senario patents, including its Bunjie monkeys and Projectile Plush.
Mike Nakamura, founder and CEO of Senario, said in a press release: “This is a clear case of patent infringement that Novelty, Inc. has engaged in. Senario has aggressively protected this intellectual property over the years with 100 percent success and we will continue to do so.”

Walmart and DreamWorks Unveil Dragon Program

How to Train Your DragonDreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. will port in Walmart stores nationwide as the two unveil an exclusive program for the studio’s feature film, How to Train Your Dragon, in theaters on March 26.
More than 2,500 Viking ships will sail into the stores, in How to Train Your Dragon designated areas. The areas will feature more than 100 Dragon items for purchase, including licensed products from manufacturers such as Spin Master, Kraft, Kellogg, and Pepsi. The products will include dragon and Viking-themed toys such as foam swords and helmets, apparel, skateboards, hooded towels, sunglasses, and snacks. Walmart has also developed a How to Train Your Dragon activity book that will be found in Happy Meals at 1,000 McDonald’s locations in Walmart stores.
On March 22, to kick off the program, Walmart and DreamWorks Animation docked a 40-foot Viking ship in the center of Times Square as part of a two-day event for fans. The event included a special appearance by America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), who voices Astrid, a girl Viking, in the movie, plus giveaways of the new products and movie previews.
Walmart’s How to Train Your Dragon website, which will feature a Dragon-themed map game, will go live on April 1.

International Children’s Trade Show to Premiere in New York

Playtime New YorkPlaytime, the international trade show dedicated to children, junior, and maternity products, will premiere in the U.S. as Playtime New York. The New York edition of the show will be held July 31 to August 2, during the Children’s Market, at Soho’s 82 Mercer. The event is scheduled to take place bi-annually, during market in March and
Playtime New York will offer a comprehensive international selection of today’s best collections in the children’s and maternity marketplace, including infant and
children’s clothing, shoes and accessories, baby gear, toys, deco/design products, childcare, and maternity.
A website for the show,, is being developed in the same format as Playtime Paris. For more information, call (212) 925-6349.

NRF and eBay Partner to Fight Organized Retail Crime

The National Retail Federation is partnering with eBay to tackle organized retail crime.  As part of the partnership, the groups will: bring together a group of NRF retail members and representatives of eBay regularly to discuss organized retail crime and take steps to eradicate the activity; identify ways to use new technology, including NRF’s LERPnet and eBay’s PROACT programs, to assist law enforcement in identifying and tracking organized retail crime rings; collaborate with the FBI to help identify crime rings that have stolen merchandise in bulk; and work together on legislation that will combat organized retail crime and punish major offenders through enhanced criminal penalties.

Hasbro Execs Picked for LIMA Hall of Fame

Alan G. Hassenfeld, chairman of the executive committee and former chairman of the board of Hasbro, Inc., and the late Stephen Hassenfeld, CEO and chairman of the board until 1989, have been selected for induction into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) Licensing Industry Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place on June 8 at the second annual LIMA Opening Night Awards Party at Licensing International Expo 2010, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

TIA Considers Participating in Anti-FTC Provision Coalition

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is considering participating in a coalition created to oppose a Federal Trade Commission provision currently being considered by Congress.  The legislation under review, intended to reform the financial regulatory system, includes a provision to amend the FTC Act and broaden the FTC’s authority.
According to the TIA, the new provision would remove or weaken existing procedural safeguards on its rulemaking and enforcement capabilities. Current law requires transparency when commissioners meet with outside parties about regulatory proceedings and prohibits staff from giving commissioners facts outside the regulatory record. 
The current coalition that opposes the provision includes 30 other organizations including: the Consumer Electronics Association, Direct Marketing Association, National Association of Manufacturers, and the Association of National Advertisers.

Proposed Amendments to CPSIA Likely to Be Submitted to Congress

Legislative amendments to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) may soon be introduced to Congress. The draft, which is currently being circulated before being submitted to the House, proposes edits the CPSIA’s exclusion process that could provide added relief for several categories of children’s products. The proposed amendments also include recommendations regarding certain inaccessible parts, the prospective application of certain new limits, and consideration of an expansion of authority for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 

New Licensing Sub-Agents Appointed for (Not so) Scary Monsters

(not so) Scary MonstersCopCorp Licensing has appointed sub-agents for the (not so) Scary Monsters children’s character brand. Wavery Productions will manage the licensing program for the brand in Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg). Sinerji, Ltd. has been named to launch and grow the licensing program for the brand in Turkey.


Hasegawa to Celebrate Hobbico Appointment with Raptor Kit

Hobbico, Inc. has been named the exclusive distributor for Hasegawa Model Kits in the U.S. and Canada. Hasegawa’s military and civilian models, as well as detailed sets, will be available to retailers through Great Planes Model Distributors.
To celebrate the recent appointment, Hasegawa will release the 1/48 scale F-22 Raptor, with an optional Raptor metal-etched detail set. Hasegawa develops detailed kits including military and civilian aircraft, ships, armor, and more.

Former IFA President and CEO Named Head of NRF

Matt Shay has been selected to serve as the next president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF). Shay joins NRF from the International Franchise Association where he served as president and CEO, since 2004 and 2007 respectively. The current CEO, Tracy Mullin, is retiring after serving in the position for 17 years.
Shay will be elected formally at the June 22 NRF board meeting.

Michael Berreth Appointed VP of Marketing at Cookie Jar

Michael Berreth has been promoted to vice president of marketing at Cookie Jar Entertainment. In his new position, Berreth will oversee all of Cookie Jar’s global marketing campaigns and promotional programs.
In his previous role at Cookie Jar, Berreth managed a wide range of brands and marketing campaigns including CBS Weekend Morning Block, McDonald’s, and the global re-launch of Strawberry Shortcake.

RDFR Appoints New Brand Manager

RDF Rights (RDFR), part of the RDF Media Group, announces the appointment of Cheryl Lee in the newly created position of brand manager, RDF Rights. Lee’s key areas of responsibility will be RDF Rights’ kids portfolio, which includes the flagship preschool brand Waybuloo, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Mister Maker, and Big Barn Farm. She will also be responsible for delivering UK retail marketing and promotional initiatives as well as working with broadcast partners to launch and promote RDF’s television shows both on and off air.

Guangdong's Toy Exports up 47.1% in February

According to, the export value of toys in Guangdong Province amounted to $330 million in February, up 47.1 percent year on year, according to statistics from the local customs.
In the first two months of this year, the province's toy export value rose 26.3 percent from the same period of last year to $720 million, with $260 million worth of toys exported to the U.S., accounting for 36.1 percent of the total toy exports of Guangdong.
During the January-February period, the combined value of import and export in Guangdong Province totaled $92.55 billion, up 31 percent from a year ago, comprising $53.27 billion in export value and $39.28 billion in import value.
Last year, toy exports from Guangdong took up nearly 70 percent of China's total toy exports.

WowWee Presidents Make Purchase Offer

Richard Yanofsky, president of WowWee Canada, and Peter Yanofsky, president of WowWee USA, have set up a company to buy out the current shareholders of the Optimal Group, of which WowWee is a wholly-owned subsidiary, and have the support of Optimal's board of directors.
The offer of $2.40 per share represents a premium of approximately 50 percent over the closing price of the Class "A" shares of $1.60 on the NASDAQ on March 16, 2010. The purchase would make Optimal a privately held company.

4Kids Reports Losses

4Kids Entertainment released its report for the quarter ending December 31 and for the 2009 calendar year. The company reported a net loss for the quarter ending December 31 of approximately $21.3 million, compared to a net loss of $19.6 million for the same quarter in 2008. The company posted a net loss for the 2009 calendar year of $42 million, compared to a net loss of $36.8 million for the 2008 calendar year. Net revenue for the quarter was approximately $17 million, compared to $12.8 million during the same quarter in 2008. Net revenue for the calendar year was approximately $36.7 million, compared to $57.2 million for 2008, a decrease of $20.4 million.
Chairman and CEO Alfred Kahn said that he is "looking at strategic opportunities for the company… including capital infusion… a takeover or a sale or some types of mergers." He also noted that “4Kids needs to return to its roots as a licensing and merchandising company [that] specializes in bringing wonderful Japanese programming and merchandising to the rest of the world."
Kahn also said that they are rebranding the 4Kids TV network for the fall season with a number of the new series being "substantial Japanese hits."

MEGA Brands Recapitalization Approved

MEGA Brands Inc. announces that both common shareholders and holders of its senior secured debt have approved the corporation's recapitalization transaction by the required majorities. The Special Meeting of Shareholders and Meeting of Secured Debt Holders were held in accordance with an interim order of the Superior Court of Quebec granted on February 12.
These votes allow the corporation to proceed with the remaining steps, which include final court approval in Canada, recognition of the transaction in the U.S., and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Subject to the satisfaction or waiver of these remaining steps, the corporation expects to complete the transaction on or about March 31.
Initiated by the corporation on January 14, this transaction will reduce its debt by approximately $286.6 million and annual interest expenses by approximately $30 million.

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