Barnes & Noble Launches Educational Toys & Games Science Center in Select Stores and Online

Barnes & Noble Inc. has launched an Educational Toys & Games Science Center in select stores nationwide and online at www.bn.com/science-center. They feature science-focused toys and games from brands such as Thames & Kosmos, Educational Insights, Scientific Explorer, Elenco, and more.

The new Barnes & Noble Educational Toys & Games Science Center is intended to inform children across grades K to 8th about circuitry, solar power, chemistry, dinosaur fossils and dinosaur digs, and other topics.

“Barnes & Noble is pioneering the way in educational toys and games, and we are thrilled to partner with them and to be at the forefront in offering our science-based products to children and families in such a comprehensive way this holiday season,” says Jane Stephens-Smith at Elenco.

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.

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...]

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.”