Propel Equity Partners Acquires Buzz Bee Toys

AlexBrandsPropel Equity Partners, a private equity firm, has acquired Buzz Bee Toys, which specializes in active play toys. The acquisition marks the eighth by Propel Equity since August of 2012 on behalf of Alex Brands. Buzz Bee Toys will join the Alex Brands family of brands, which includes Alex Toys, Poof, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, and more.

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Alex Brands Launches 400 New Products at Toy Fair

AlexBrandsAlex Brands will introduce 400 new products at the 112th Annual North American International Toy Fair.

Highlights of the products that will be shown at Toy Fair include:

  • Alex Toys will expand its art product lines with an extended line of DIY jewelry and crafts, while boys can demonstrate their originality with the new craft line, DIY Guy Gear. New wooden toys and furniture bring a modern twist to classic favorites including art tables, easels, and activity toys for infants. [Read more...]

Alex Brands Enters Licensing Agreement with Nickelodeon

AlexBrands Alex Brands has signed a licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to manufacture, distribute, and market a broad array of products based on popular characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora and Friends, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The multi-year agreement covers multiple brands from Alex Brands including Alex Toys and Shrinky Dinks, as well as product categories such as craft kits and bath toys. Alex Brands will launch more than 30 new Nickelodeon products during North American International Toy Fair, which runs from February 14 to 17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The items will be available to consumers starting late summer.

Alex Brands Acquires Shrinky Dinks

AlexBrandsShrinky Dinks will be part of the Alex Brands family of toys, which includes Alex Toys, Poof, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, and more. Invented in 1973, Shrinky Dinks consist of large, flexible sheets, which when heated in an oven, shrink to small hard plates without changing their color or shape.

Alex Brands historically licensed the Shrinky Dinks brand for use in the Alex Toys product line. It also joins Alex Brands’ growing collection of Made in the U.S. products, including Poof foam balls and Slinky products.

Alex Brands Joins Toys for Tots as Official Sponsor

AlexBrandsAs of today, Alex Brands has become an official sponsor of Toys for Tots. The company is joining the charitable program to help benefit children and families during the current holiday season.

A 67-year-old national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys for Tots collects toys, books, and other gifts, distributing them to economically disadvantaged children. Last year, the Marine Corps provided for nearly 7 million children in more than 760 communities nationwide.

“We are delighted to have Alex Brands join us as a national corporate sponsor,” says retired Marine Major Bill Grein, vice president of marketing and development for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “The addition of some of the most recognizable and iconic toy brands to our efforts is going to help make this holiday season even brighter for the children we serve.”

Alex Brands’ family of brands includes Alex Toys, Poof, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, Ideal, and more.

Neil Friedman to Serve as Next President and CEO of Alex Brands

AlexBrands.Copy Alex Brands has named toy industry veteran Neil Friedman as its president and CEO. Friedman, who joined Alex Brands’ board of directors earlier this year, was most recently president of the U.S. division at Toys “R” Us. He was also previously president at Mattel Brands, Fisher-Price Brands, Tyco Preschool, and MCA/Universal Merchandising. Friedman is a member of the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and the International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association’s Hall of Fame.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with some of the most iconic and highly recognizable brands in the industry,” says Friedman. “In the time that I have been associated with Alex Brands, I have been extremely impressed by the company’s accomplishments, vision, and growth plans. I am most looking forward to using my experience and expertise to help this company realize the incredible opportunities that lie before it.”

Alex Brands Opens New Worldwide Headquarters and Distribution Center in N.J.

AlexBrandsAlex Brands is expanding its operational footprint with the opening of a new worldwide headquarters and customer showroom in Fairfield, N.J.; a state-of-the-art distribution center in Woodbridge, N.J.; and expanded warehouse capacity in its Canton, Mich., distribution center.

The company’s new worldwide headquarters in Fairfield, N.J., covers 30,000 square feet, and houses the majority of the senior leadership, sales, marketing, purchasing, and compliance teams. It also features more than 4,000 square feet of showroom space, an in-house design center, and a photography and film studio. Along with fostering a collaborative team atmosphere, the new space will serve as a hub for the company’s product development team.

Alex Brands has also made significant investments in expanding its distribution capabilities, with the new Woodbridge, N.J., distribution center adding 300,000 square feet of space. The facility also provides direct-to-consumer fulfillment capabilities to support the company’s rapidly growing e-commerce initiative.

The company also doubled the warehouse space at its Canton, Mich., distribution center. The new facilities are expected to create job opportunities for local communities in Fairfield, Woodbridge, and Canton.

Propel Equity Partners Acquires Assets of Summit Products, CitiBlocs

Private equity firm Propel Equity Partners has acquired the assets of Summit Products LLC, which include Backyard Safari, Zillionz, Covert Force, Test Pilot, and Stink Bugzzz brands. These lines will be incorporated into the Alex Brands family of toy brands.

In a separate transaction, Propel Equity Partners also acquired CitiBlocs, a line of high-quality, precision cut wood construction blocks. CitiBlocs will also be incorporated into Alex Brands. CitiBlocs builds upon the presence of Alex Brands in the construction category, which already includes Ideal Frontier Logs, Amaze ’n Marbles, Kinderblocks, Fiddlestix, and the Zoob line.

Alex Brands is a family of brands owned by Propel Equity Partners that includes Alex Toys, Poof, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, Ideal, and Zoob. The collective portfolio, sold worldwide, includes more than 2,000 products spanning the categories of games, science kits, preschool and infant toys, construction sets, craft activity kits, art supplies, bath toys, foam sports balls, and the classic Slinky.

Alex Brands Brings Several Toy Industry Companies Together Under One Brand

PrintAlex Toys, POOF-Slinky, and Zoob have come together to form Alex Brands, a family of brands that will include several names in the toy industry, including Alex Toys, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, and Ideal. Alex Brands’ collective portfolio will encompass more than 2,000 products spanning the categories of games, science kits, preschool and infant toys, construction sets, craft activity kits, and more.

The Alex Brands family will be headed by Fred Keller as president, and steered out of Canton, Mich., and Northvale, N.J. Alex Brands is owned by Propel Equity Partners, which acquired Poof-Slinky in July 2012, Alex Toys in May of last year, and Zoob this past September.

At next month’s American International Toy Fair in New York City, Alex Brands will introduce more than 150 new items across all its brands.