May 01, 2014

Mattel Completes Acquisition of Mega Brands

Mattel Inc. has completed the acquisition of Mega Brands Inc., the No. 2 player in the multi-billion-dollar construction toy category, through a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel Inc. for approximately $460 million.
Mattel plans to maintain Mega Brands’ manufacturing facilities in Montreal and Tennessee, and the company’s headquarters will remain in Montreal. Geoff Massingberd, named chairman and president of Mega Brands by Mattel, has assumed full leadership responsibility.
In connection with the closing of the acquisition, Mega Brands’ common shares and warrants will be de-listed from the TSX Venture Exchange. Mega Brands has also applied to Canadian securities regulators to cease to be a reporting issuer in each of the provinces and territories of Canada, in which it is currently a reporting issuer.

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Makes Heroic Debut This Fall

Disney Infinity: Marvel HeroesDisney Interactive and Marvel Entertainment will assemble a group of iconic super heroes for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, which will feature more than 20 new interactive figures, and original storylines by Marvel comic writer Brian Michael Bendis. Developed by Avalanche Software, the game includes an all-new Toy Box mode, making it easier for players to create and share with family and friends.
The Avengers’ Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Hawkeye will debut when the game launches this fall for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360, and Wii U.

NPD Video Game Sales Data Shows Continued Console Strength

According to data from the NPD Group, retail video game sales across hardware, software, and accessories increased 3 percent in March over the previous year, due to 78 percent growth in hardware sales. These increases were driven by console sales, which were up by more than 100 percent, due to the success of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Cumulative sales of the two new consoles through their first five months have totaled more than double that of their predecessors, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Total software sales declined by 28 percent year-over-year, and the March launches of new titles sold 42 percent less than in March of the prior year. The top-selling game for March was Titanfall, developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts.

Peter Rabbit TV Series Inspires Plush Products

Nickelodeon and Nordstrom will debut a new specialty plush toy line inspired by the Nickelodeon animated preschool series Peter Rabbit. Along with plush from Gund, two brand-new books, The Start of Spring and Peter and Friends Sticker Activity Book, published by Penguin, will also be accessible to customers. 
The line includes 12-inch plush and 6-inch beanbags featuring all three series characters. These plush products will be available online and in nearly 100 Nordstrom stores nationwide.

Hasbro Named Among 100 Best Corporate Citizens

Hasbro Inc. has been ranked No. 22 on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list for 2014. This is the third time that Hasbro has been honored in the top 25 and recognized for responsible business practices and transparency.
The 100 Best Corporate Citizens List documents hundreds of data points from publicly available information in seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance, and philanthropy. The full list can be found at

New Indonesian National Standard for Toys Is in Effect

As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), as of April 30, toy companies that export to Indonesia are required to comply with a new Indonesian national standard for toys. This new standard calls for additional sampling, testing, labeling, and import documentation.
Last November, after more than 100 containers of toys were prevented from entering Indonesia, full implementation of the standard was delayed while Indonesian officials considered an amendment, which would make its requirements more feasible for companies and more closely aligned with international practice. An agreement had seemingly been reached with senior members of the Indonesian government to delay implementation by an additional six months, but the country’s minister of industry recently countermanded the decision.
Full details on the new standard can be found at TIA’s website. Specific questions can be directed to Al Kaufman, TIA’s senior vice president of technical affairs, at (646) 520-4868.

Mattel Engineer to Present on Scaling Up Sustainability

On May 7, Alex Silvester, senior sustainability engineer for Mattel Inc., will present at a daylong workshop on the topic of scaling up sustainability. In collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, which organized the workshop, Mattel has established a program to increase the transparency and traceability of its supply chain, and to assess sourcing risks. The company’s goal is a mix of 85 percent recycled and sustainably-sourced paper and wood fiber in its packaging.
The workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the headquarters of Citi, located at 399 Park Avenue in New York City. Anyone interested in attending should contact Anna Clark at or (646) 452-1939, or Stephen Kent at or (914) 589-5988.

New Jersey and Texas Students Take Home Grand Prize at National School Scrabble Championship

School Scrabble ChampionshipThe eighth grade team of Jacob Sass, of Magnolia, Texas, and Thomas Draper, of Skillman, N.J., outscored more than 65 teams to win the 12th annual National School Scrabble Championship. The event took place this past weekend at One Hasbro Place in downtown Providence, R.I.
Sass and Draper received the Champion’s Trophy, and will split the grand prize of $10,000. The National School Scrabble Championship is a competitive event for school-aged Scrabble players in the U.S. and Canada, hosted by Hasbro Inc.




TIA to Conduct 2014 Toy Industry Marketing and Promotions Survey

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will conduct its first Toy Industry Marketing and Promotions Study, an analysis of the industry’s advertising, marketing, and social media practices. The study will examine the promotional tools used by companies of all sizes, categories, and distribution channels.
Industry Insights Inc., the same firm that completes the TIA’s Financial and Operating Benchmark Study and Compensation and Benefits Survey, will also conduct this study. TIA members can participate for free in an online survey or series of phone interviews until May 30.
The study will collect data on in-house versus outsourced functions, trends, expectations for digital and traditional media, the effectiveness of social media, and more. Each TIA member that completes the survey will receive a customized profile with the data, and TIA members and non-members that do not participate can still purchase the results.

Can’t Get Enough Bubbles

I don’t know of anything more universally loved than bubbles. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was create bubbles—whether it was blowing into a straw while drinking something, blowing the water with my mouth in the pool, or using gel to make a bubble bath. Since my early days, bubbles have evolved from the traditional solution and wand method, and the following new bubble blastin’ toys are definitely a modern way to enjoy something so simple. Read more…

These New Japanese Toys and Games Aren’t Just for Kids, Part 2

Japan has some of the coolest action figures on the planet, and much of why has to do with that country’s toy-buying market, which skews older than, say, in the U.S. However, a lot of that sophistication is now making its way over to this country, in the form of toys that are either imported from Japan, or have their roots there. Some are kids’ items that have double appeal among older audiences, while others are purposefully aimed at grown-ups. That’s a bit of a blanket statement, of course, as any toy can appeal to lots of different demographics for varying reasons. However, we have a feeling adults will want to get their hands on these particular figures once they’ve cleared customs—probably even more so than kids will. Read more…

Alexandre Pariente Named CEO of Safari Ltd.

Alexandre ParienteAlexandre Pariente has been promoted to the position of CEO at Safari Ltd. His promotion follows the retirement of CEO Ramona Pariente after nearly 30 years at the company. Alexandre Pariente, who was serving as acting president, is Ramona’s son. Their family started the educational toy company in 1982.
“It is a proud day for the Pariente family as we are joyed to continue operating Safari Ltd. for another generation,” says Ramona Pariente.






Snap Creative Taps Brand Bridges as Senior Vice President, Business Development

Brant Bridges has been hired as senior vice president, business development for Snap Creative, reporting to Snap’s CEO Bill Howard. Bridges will lead strategic growth initiatives and related design through manufacturing processes for Snap Creative and its SnaPCO division.
During a nearly 13-year tenure at Sideshow Collectibles, Bridges managed development, production, and marketing efforts, including business-to-business and direct-to-consumer revenue streams. He managed more than 20 active
licensing relationships, including key franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel, and DC Comics.

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