3. Oaktree and Jay Foreman go after JAKKS
Jay Foreman is a hit maker. He is responsible for the Hannah Montana, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber dolls along with a long list of other hits. He sold his company, Play Along, to JAKKS in 2004, stayed there for a few years and then started his new company, The Bridge, in 2008. Well, Jay is back and he wants to buy JAKKS. He’s not kidding around either, he has Oaktree Capital backing his efforts.
The JAKKS management, however, is not so keen on the idea. In fact they rejected a $20 per share offer back in September of this year. As of December 20, 2011 it was going for $13.75 per share.
If Jay Foreman does manage to take JAKKS over he will take it private and certainly replace the management team. These moves will have an impact on the individuals involved, the retail community and those who compete with JAKKS for intellectual property and sales.
2. Li & Fung acquires Technosource
Hong Kong based Li & Fung is one of the world’s most important players in the global toy industry. With almost 27,000 employees and almost $16 Billion in 2010 sales, Li & Fung plays a key role in sourcing, designing, delivering and producing loads of consumer products, textiles and importantly for those of us reading this, toys.
So, when Li & Fung announced the purchase of Technosource back in March of this year it was big news. Suddenly this mid-tier company known for its talent and at least one big hit (Rubik’s Revolution) suddenly had deep, and I mean deep, pockets.
Why is this important; because the move by Li & Fung could be just the leading edge of Chinese investment in the western toy companies. After years of limiting themselves to o.e.m. manufacturing, they just might want to take on the whole ball of wax.
1. Japanese toymaker Tomy acquires RC2 Corp
Tomy, in one fell swoop, went from being one of the biggest toy industry players in Asia to being one of the biggest in the world. Tomy, whose annual revenue is projected at around $2 Billion did 90% of its business in Asia. That all changed when they bought publicly held RC2 Corporation who 2010 revenues were a bit under $500 million.
RC2 is a powerhouse in the United States and is strong in Europe as well. That means that Tomy now matches Lego’s annual revenues and is perched to become a major player in the US.
When an industry only has three major players (Mattel, Hasbro and Lego), that’s a big story.