It’s been a big year for mergers and acquisitions, and the latest transaction brings together two Midwestern toymakers.

Wisconsin-based PlayMonster LLC has acquired the assets of Michigan-based Kahootz Toys, the company behind 17 popular arts and crafts brands, including Y’Art, Spirograph, Colorforms, Fashion Plates, Waterfuls, and more. Bambini Partners served as special advisors to Kahootz Toys in connection with the transaction.

“This is PlayMonster’s largest acquisition to date and we’re thrilled to continue our multicategory growth strategy building and adding classic brands while expanding our footprint in the activity and stationery aisles,” says Chief PlayMonster Bob Wann. “Kahootz has shown a commitment to providing innovative products to kids of all ages, and this philosophy aligns with our mission to make a positive difference in people’s lives through the power of play. Their team has done an outstanding job, and with our help, will continue to grow the Kahootz brand at retail.” 

Founded in 2012, Kahootz forged partnerships with such licensors as Hasbro, which spawned the relaunch of Spirograph, and an assortment of Play-Doh branded items. In partnership with 9 Story Entertainment, Kahootz relaunched the classic Colorforms brand. Other classic items in the Kahootz portfolio include Popoids, Action Plates, and Romper Room. Y’Art has been one of this year’s biggest successes, securing a spot in the Toy Insider‘s Holiday Gift Guide, winning an ASTRA Best Toys for Kids award, and being named a finalist in the upcoming Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards.

Acquisitions have fueled PlayMonster’s growth in recent years, adding multiple products and companies to its portfolio, including Automoblox, My Fairy Garden, Set Enterprises, and others. A year ago this month, the company aligned with Audax Private Equity to gear up for further growth and transactions, such as this one.

“We are very excited to be joining PlayMonster and the Audax Private Equity family of companies,” says Joe Yassay, CEO and founding partner of Kahootz Toys. “The addition of our products to PlayMonster’s already impressive portfolio of children’s toys and games is a win-win for everyone involved — our companies, licensors, suppliers, and customers. We look forward to helping PlayMonster champion the power of play by supporting continued growth and market penetration in the mass, specialty, and international marketplaces.”