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Disney, Lucasfilm Launch Star Wars Forces of Destiny

Disney and Lucasfilm today announced Star Wars Forces of Destiny, a new initiative celebrating each of the iconic heroes from across the Star Wars universe. An original series of animated shorts will explore new adventures of key characters including Rey, Jyn Erso, Sabine Wren, Princess Leia, Ahsoka Tano, and others, ahead of books and a TV special later this year.

The stories will also be supported by a line of toys from Hasbro, including new Adventure Figures—a fusion between traditional dolls and action figures. Read more…

Educational Insights Launches Licensing Program

Candlewick Entertainment acquired the rights to release a series of children’s books based on Educational Insights’ game, The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. This marks the first licensing program for Educational Insights.

Joan Powers, the group editorial director for Candlewick, acquired the rights from Lisa Guili at Educational Insights. The first title in the series is The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel, a lift-the-flap board book to be released in September. Lucia Gaggiotti, the same artist who illustrated the original card game, will illustrate the book.

Rubie’s Costume Co. Introduces Smurfs: The Lost Village Costume Collection

Rubie’s Costume Co. Inc. partnered with Sony Pictures Consumer Products and Lafig Belgium/IMPS to produce officially licensed costumes, masks, make-up, and accessories inspired by Smurfs: The Lost Village from Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures, which debuted in theaters last weekend. Read more…

Coloring and Craft-Related Products Sales Grow Double Digits Ahead of Easter

From slime and foam to coloring and crafts, the latest trends around creative expression are driving U.S. sales of office supplies ahead of Easter, according to The NPD Group. The double-digit sales growth seen across coloring and art related categories suggests that a different wave of items may be joining the chocolate bunnies and stuffed animals in Easter baskets this year. Read more…

Toys “R” Us Inc. to Combine Japan and Asia Ltd. Businesses

Toys “R” Us Inc. will unify its Toys “R” Us Japan business with its Toys “R” Us business in Greater China and Southeast Asia, a joint venture with Fung Retailing Limited. Read more…

Kids Time Fair 2017: A Look Inside Central and Eastern Europe’s Largest Toy Fair

The largest trade show for toys, games, and children’s products in Central and Eastern Europe, Kids Time 2017, was held in Kielce, Poland, from Feb. 23 to 25. The eighth annual international fair featured toys and products for babies and children, and recorded double-digit growth in key measurements, including more than 7,000 professional trade visitors and 474 exhibitors. Read more…

Spin Master Approved as Stalking Horse Bidder for IP and Related Assets of Marbles: The Brain Store

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the North District of Illinois approved the stalking horse bid of Spin Master Ltd. to acquire the e-commerce and wholesale business assets of Marbles: The Brain Store. The stalking horse offer is $2.5 million and is subject to higher and better offers.
 
The bid deadline is set for Thursday, April 20. Hilco Streambank is managing the sale process and will be overseeing an auction to consider additional bids for the assets in Chicago on April 24. The auction date will be on Monday, April 24, and the Sale Hearing will be on Wednesday, April 26.
 
Marbles: The Brain Store is a developer, wholesaler, and specialty retailer of games, toys, puzzles, books, and software designed to strengthen and stimulate the brain. Last year, the company generated $28 million in revenue through its multi-channel distribution platform.

Toys "R" Us Reports Full Year and Q4 Results of Fiscal 2016

Toys "R" Us Inc. today reported financial results for the full year and fourth quarter of fiscal 2016, which ended on January 28, 2017.  Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA was $792 million for the full year, a decrease of $8 million compared to the prior year. Read more…

Erik Spindler Transfers Identity Games Ownership Shares

Managing director of Identity Games, Erik Spindler, transferred his ownership shares on March 31. Some of the shares went to the company's new generation, including Jeroen Nugteren (general manager international) and Jan-Maurits Duparc (chief creation).
 
Founder and Managing Partner Albert Meuter, Managing Director in the U.S. Emile Kalis, and the new shareholders, are the new management. Jelle Marcus is the new manager for tailor made games.

People Toy Co. Hires Four Sales Reps For Key Territories

Rudy Valenta of People Toy Co., a Japanese company, signed four toy sales representatives for key territories in the U.S.
 
Ellen Shankman will lead ESP Sales to handle the Northeast Territory of Connecticut, Upstate New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Jim and Erin Lynch of Javilyn Sales will oversee the Midwest Territory of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana. Kathleen Milne, principal of Kathleen Milne Co., is charged with the Southwest Territory including California, Arizona, and Hawaii. Betsey Harney of Sugar B Sales will supervise the Pacific Northwest Territory of Oregon, Washington, Indiana, and Arkansas.

April 13, 2017
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