University Games Acquires Briarpatch Inc.

UniversityGameslogoUniversity Games will acquire the assets of Briarpatch Inc., a manufacturer of preschool specialty games and puzzles based on popular literary properties such as I Spy and Fancy Nancy.

The merger will increase University Games’ domestic revenue by approximately 20 percent. Additionally, the Briarpatch licenses will augment University Games’ Colorforms business. University Games will begin shipping Briarpatch products this month.

John Donofrio and Martine Redman founded Briarpatch in 1991, and Donofrio will join University Games in a consulting role.

Madame Alexander Introduces New Dolls

MyLittleSweetheartMadame Alexander introduces My Little Sweetheart. She has a light blonde page boy-topknot combo and blue eyes, and wears a two-piece outfit. The top pairs a ribbed, cream velour bodice with a skirt and sleeves made from a cream knit printed with pink hearts. Lace trim, ruffles, pink binding, and an appliqued heart add accents. Her pink knit pants are gather into ruffles at the ankle and have an elastic waist. Her outfit is finished off with a pink satin ribbon in her hair. This 14-inch doll is for kids ages 3 and up.

FancyNancy&MarabelleAlso available for preorder from Madame Alexander, the 14-inch, cloth Fancy Nancy and Marabella, with a printed face and orange and purple zigzag yarn hair, simply sparkles in a delightful dress that has a coral top and ruffled, little white, puffed sleeves. The tutu inspired skirt, of the dress, features a layer of glitter organza over tulle and draped with a red and white gingham in the 18th century panier style. Sashes of striped and polka dotted ribbon and the attached crown and bluebird in her hair add even more dazzle to her outfit. As for 8-inch Marabella, she has been given the full Marie Antoinette treatment with piled high pink curls topped with a crown, and a turquoise, taffeta gown decorated with ruffles and fuchsia trim.

Alexander Doll Co. Celebrates 90 Years with New Offices, a Limited Edition Anniversary Collection, New Licensed Products, and a New Product Category

The Alexander Doll Co. unveiled its new mid-town location, new doll lines, and new licensed products yesterday in celebration of the company’s 90th anniversary. Since 1923, the company has grown to include collectibles, play dolls, and baby dolls for girls of all ages. For this 90th anniversary, the company has developed an assortment of six dolls to commemorate the company’s history. Re-introductions of classic sculpts and characters included in this collection are a 21-inch Cissy in a beaded dress, inspired by a photograph of Madame Alexander from 1923; an 8-inch Wendy with a Tony Sarg inspired marionette theater; a classic McGuffey Ana; and an 8-inch Wendy and a 10-inch Cissy both dressed to commemorate the anniversary. Each doll comes with a commemorative hang tag and Certificate of Authenticity.

DorothyInThePoppyField

Also on the anniversary front, Madame Alexander has marked the 75th anniversary of two iconic movies, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, which were among the company’s first and longest continuous licenses. Each and every year since 1938, new designs have been added to these special collections, and this year is no exception. The three doll sets for Wizard of Oz collectors include a 10-inch Wicked Witch of the West with three 5-inch Winged Monkeys, a 10-inch Glinda the Good Witch withthree 5-inch girls of the Lullaby League, and a 10-inch Dorothy with three 5-inch Poppy dolls. For Gone With the Wind anniversary, the company has created a 21-inch Scarlett O’Hara resplendent in her white ruffled Prayer Dress.

SwanLakeOn the plush side, Alexander Doll Co. has responded to the concerns of modern parents relating to toy hygiene by developing a new washable dolls category. Machine washable and dryable, this collection includes the Wizard of Oz gang, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, and Angelina Ballerina. Alexander Doll’s 18-inch soft cloth play dolls include several new additions, such as Bedtime Angelina, Fancy Nancy, Marabelle, and Swan Lake Angelina.

Alexander Doll will introduce a new facial sculpt on their Favorite Friends line of 18-inch vinyl play dolls this year. Favorite Friends feature rooted hair, sleep eyes, a soft cloth body, five-way jointing, and stylish outfits. Separate outfits are sold and fit most 18-inch play dolls in the market. In addition, the Dollie & Me brand of 18-inch dolls complements an apparel collection of little girl dresses sold with matching doll dresses.

Hearts&RosesBaby dolls have been an integral part of the Alexander Doll Company since the 1930s. Doll ranges include My First Baby with painted eyes and hair, and Newborn Nursery, which are lifelike baby dolls with rooted hair, sleep eyes, and a selection of accessories and outfits.

The history of the Alexander Doll Co. is a tale of growth from a small doll company to one of today’s exclusive brands in the girls’ sector. Kahn Lucas Lancaster Inc., a global designer and wholesaler of branded girls’ dresses and fashion collections, now owns the company.

Iconix Completes Peanuts Acquisition

Iconix Brand Group, Inc. has completed the acquisition of the Peanuts brand and related assets of United Media Licensing, a division of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., through a newly formed joint venture company, Peanuts Worldwide, LLC. The new company is 80 percent owned by Iconix and 20 percent owned by Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, managed by the Schulz family.

This deal changes the landscape of Iconix and moves the company beyond fashion. Consumer products outside of fashion now represent approximately one-third of the company’s overall revenue.

In addition to Peanuts, Iconix has acquired the licensing and character representation for a number of character brands, including Dilbert and Fancy Nancy.

The purchase price for the acquisition was $175 million. Iconix funded its portion of the purchase price with cash on its balance sheet.

United Media Being Sold to Iconix

E.W. Scripps Co. said Tuesday it will sell United Media for $175 million to Joe Boxer owner Iconix Brand Group Inc. The sale of United Media Licensing also means Iconix has a new partnership with the family of the late “Peanuts” creator, Charles Schulz. They’ll receive 20 percent ownership in the unit that owns “Peanuts” and pay that percentage of the sale price. United Media Licensing also represents other character brands such as Dilbert and Fancy Nancy, but the bulk of its licensing business comes from “Peanuts.”

In 2009, revenue of the unit fell 10 percent to nearly $92 million. That figure includes United Media’s syndication operations, which Scripps will still own, meaning it will still syndicate comic strips and editorial features.

Scripps said the cash deal will close by the end of the second quarter.