A private equity firm, Aterian Investment Partners, announced today that one of its affiliates has acquired Backyard Discovery, a designer, manufacturer, distributor, and installer of play sets in North America. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Pittsburg, Kan., Aterian designs and manufactures swing sets, playhouses, patio products, and more under brands such as Backyard Adventures and Leisure Time Products.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will bring forward its holiday layaway program by two weeks, in what has been viewed as a move to get ahead of year-end demand for toys, and to generate sales of upcoming Star Wars toys. As reported by Reuters, Anne Marie Kehoe, the vice president of toys for Wal-Mart, said in a briefing that shoppers can utilize the program starting August 28, two weeks earlier than last year.
Rashti & Rashti has acquired Prestige Toy Corporation, a producer of infant plush toy products. Along with the Prestige brand, Rashti & Rashti has obtained several licenses for plush through the deal, including Elf on a Shelf, Fisher Price, Sesame Street, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and both Garanimals and Grin and Grow, which are exclusive to Wal-Mart.
Funrise Toys has released an animated webisode for its new collectible plush toy line, Stackins Stackable Friends, which launched at Wal-Mart on August 10. The webisode will debut the personalities of a number of furry characters either sold now in the retail chain or coming soon to stores, including Checkers the Cheetah, Stripes the Zebra, and Marco the Monkey.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has invested $6 million in Wooky Entertainment Inc., a Montreal company specializing in the creation of games and toys intended mainly for the preteen market. The investment is part of CDPQ’s strategy of supporting promising Quebec companies in their growth and international expansions.