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.

Propel Equity Partners Acquires Zoob

propel equityPropel Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing and creating value in leading consumer brands, has acquired the Zoob construction toy line from Infinitoy Inc. Zoob joins the Poof-Alex Holdings LLC family of brands, which includes Slinky, Poof, Ideal, Scientific Explorer, Fundex Games, and Alex on the Propel Equity Partners roster of leading children’s brands.

Zoob is a building set featuring pieces that move after you put them together, allowing for interactive creations. The pieces are based on a natural and living system that includes five basic pieces that snap together in 20 different ways to make building easy and versatile. With more than 30 different themed sets, Zoob products are sold throughout the U.S. and in more than 100 countries through a variety of distribution channels.

COMMENTARY: Kids Getting Older Younger—Or Younger Older?

Everyone always talks about how kids are getting older younger. Kids as young as 8 years old are swapping their Barbie dolls and Transformers for iPods and tablets—but this isn’t the case for everyone. There are big kids everywhere, and toys have a funny little habit of bringing an adult’s inner-child giggling wildly to the surface.

Nostalgia is a huge trend in toys today—classic properties such as The Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Pac-Man have resurfaced and are engaging a whole new generation. Traditional toys, such as Hasbro’s Easy Bake Oven, Kahootz’s Spirograph, and POOF-Slinky’s Slinky, all still appeal to young kids the same way they did decades ago. However, adults and older kids will find just as much fun in new products primarily targeted toward youngsters, too.

RainbowLoom.Butterfly Blossom braceletThis weekend, I was loomed. A family friend’s daughter, Karli, had her wrist covered in the colorful rubber bracelets that are a product of Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Designs. A huge craze among kids, I was enamored by the bracelets and begged her to teach me how to make one. She did, and of course, hers came out better. I’ve been staring at it on my wrist every day since she made it for me, and I was extremely tempted to purchase my own loom when I went into a Michael’s craft store and saw the enormous display (but I thought to myself: “You’re 23 years old, Marissa! Taking home product samples is one thing, but you cannot justify BUYING a toy!”).

[Read more...]

Propel Equity Partners Acquires ALEX

Propel Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing and creating value in consumer brands, has acquired ALEX, maker of children’s creative products.

ALEX joins the POOF-Slinky family of brands, which includes Slinky, POOF, Ideal, Scientific Explorer, and Fundex Games on the Propel Equity Partners roster of toy brands. POOF-Slinky Inc. was acquired by Propel Equity Partners in last July, and Fundex Games was acquired in December.

The combined strength of the two companies, along with an emphasis on customer-development and brand-building, will continue to fortify the brands’ presence. Broadened distribution and intensified consumer communications will drive availability of, and desire for, ALEX products among more households across the U.S. and worldwide. [Read more...]

Pinkalicious Introduces New Games with POOF-Slinky

Pinkalicious Cupcake Party Game_hi resPinkalicious, the popular picture book about a girl who loves the color pink and eats too many pink cupcakes, has expanded its franchise to board and card games, which are newly licensed under POOF-Slinky, the manufacturer of the world famous Slinky and top-selling foam sport balls in North America. The games include Pinkalicious 3 Cupcake Card Games, Silverlicious Sweet Tooth Game, and Pinkalicious Cupcake Party Game. Additionally, Pinkalicious is now a live and touring musical production.

The Big Toy Book Hosts Biggest Day of Holiday Play

The Big Toy Book’s holiday toy showcase, the Biggest Day of Holiday Play, took place December 8 at the ultra-chic Yotel, hosting more than 100 bloggers and their children. Participants had the opportunity to visit eight cabin spaces sponsored by various toy companies, including Hasbro, The Bridge Direct, Innovation First, Delta Children’s Products, Poof-Slinky, Play Hut, among many others. Stations exhibiting the hottest holiday toys were set up throughout the Yotel lounge space. [Read more...]

Poof-Slinky Acquires Product Lines from Elmer’s

Poof-Slinky, Inc., has acquired the Scientific Explorer and Fuzzoodles product lines, and other related assets, from Elmer’s Products, Inc. Both product lines, formerly assets of Elmer’s Giddy Up division, have extensive North American and international distribution.

The Scientific Explorer line, a decades long mainstay in the science and activity category, consists of a wide range of multi-faceted kits that introduce hands-on science in a fun, easy format. Several kits such as Bubble Gum Activity Kit, Spa Science, Meteor Rocket Kit, and Magic Science Wizards, cover the quirky side of science, and within each kit, combine an equal mix of education and activity to capture kids’ interest and imagination.

Fuzzoodles, an activity line made up of fluffy, colorful noodles that bend and twist, were introduced in 2010 and promoted through television, print and social media outlets. Each product in the activity line includes an array of wacky accessories that allow a child to flip and switch parts to create endless customized characters. Products such as Monster Madness, Crazy Critters, Glamour Girl, and Plush Pals are a few of the many items within the line.

According to Ray Dallavecchia, President and CEO of POOF®-Slinky®, Inc., “we are pleased to add these innovative product lines to our portfolio of brands.  We believe with the addition of the Scientific Explorer line, Poof-Slinky, Inc. will be the premier provider of science and activity related products in the industry. The Fuzzoodles line will broaden our activity range under the Ideal brand, and give us a platform to expand further within this category.”

Toy Battle of the Ages: Slinky vs. Etch A Sketch

Advertising agency Team Detroit has created a campaign for a battle between two classic toys: the Slinky and the Etch A Sketch. The Slinky vs. Etch A Sketch contest asks fans to vote for their favorite toy on SlinkyVsEtchASketch.com. At the website, participants can upload fan videos, while student groups, teams, and other organizations vie for a cash prize by demonstrating their love for the toys.

Prizes include $5,000 for the top video produced for each toy, as well as a daily Slinky and Etch A Sketch giveaway. Other prizes range between $500 and $3,000.

The contest runs through October 31 and is sponsored by Ohio Art and POOF-Slinky. Slinky celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, while Etch A Sketch celebrates its 50th.

The Toy Book Toy Report 4/13/2010

Read The Toy Book’s Toy Report for this week! (4/13/10)