DHX Media Acquires Cookie Jar Entertainment
DHX Media has acquired the business of Cookie Jar Entertainment to create Canada’s largest independent children’s entertainment company. The deal will be completed in mid-October, subject to a number of conditions including shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Properties will include Yo Gabba Gabba!, Rastamouse, Franny’s Feet, Animal Mechanicals, Kid vs. Kat, Angela Anaconda, Martha Speaks, as well as Caillou, Inspector Gadget, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, The Doodlebops, and Johnny Test.
The transaction implies an enterprise value for Cookie Jar of $111 million. DHX expects to realize cost synergies, which should be achieved within the first year following the closing of the transaction.
Record-Breaking Number of Toy Companies to Showcase at Fall Toy Preview
The Toy Industry Association is expecting a record-breaking number of exhibitors at this year’s Fall Toy Preview, with more than 300 toy companies already registered to preview product, marking a year-to-date increase of 34 percent. With six weeks to go before Fall Toy Preview—set for October 2 to 4—participation has surpassed the number of companies (284) that participated at last year’s show.
Nearly 500 buyers from department stores, pharmacies, gift shops, museum stores, discount chains, and online retailers have registered for the event. Sixty percent are among the top 25 retailers in the U.S, including Amazon, Big Lots, Costco, Family Dollar Stores, Hobby Lobby, Kmart, Kohl’s, Target, Toys “R” Us, and Walgreens. In addition to vendor/retailer appointments, participants will also have the opportunity to network at the Opening Night Party on October 2.
Imperial Toy Rolls Out Roxx Game
Imperial Toy is releasing Roxx, a new collectible head-to-head skill game, in the U.S. this month and will support the toy launch through the fall with a national grassroots sampling campaign and an integrated marketing, public relations, and advertising campaign both online and on TV.
Imperial has partnered with TCG, which is launching the brand in Canada and internationally. Imperial and TCG have also developed a website, Roxxnation.com, and an app, RoxxNation Image Station, where fans can scan and store their collections.
Aligned with the Simon Property Group, Imperial is participating in a 27-mall tour throughout summer and fall, along with an additional 81-mall promotion for the back-to-school season, featuring hands-on game play, contests, and sampling. Roxx is rooted in the old school New York street game called “Skullies,” but adds a simple yet addictive game play power system, along with an online component that extends the game to the web, iPhones or iPads, all of which will help kids (and adults) launch, trade and collect classic and deluxe Roxx in each series release. Series 1 features 72 designs and a variety of accessories.
Imperial Toy is securing Roxx licensed assortments which are set to follow the product launch and announce accordingly in the future months ahead.
Lawless Signs Mudpuppy for The Little Prince
Lawless Entertainment has announced a deal with Galison/Mudpuppy on behalf of The Little Prince property.
Mudpuppy, a division of Galison Publishing, will develop puzzles, a locked diary, colored pencils, and stencils utilizing art from The Little Prince book by French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The merchandise will initially debut in the U.S. in January and in May in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Additional items will be released next August in the U.S. and next December in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Imagination and Leap Year Introduce Blingkers
Imagination Brands has formed a relationship with Leap Year Publishing. Beginning immediately, Imagination Brands will be the exclusive distributor of Leap Year’s new line of Blingkers bracelets into the U.S. specialty retail markets.
Along with Doodle Roll, the Blingkers collection was launched at the New York International Gift Fair this week at the Javits Center in New York City.
New UK Deals for The Trash Pack
The Trash Pack’s new licensing campaign kicks off in September. Following the recent confirmation of Parragon as the global publishing partner, Lisle International has announced a number of new deals that will see the collectible move from the playground into the classroom and beyond.
New partners for The Trash Pack include Winning Moves for Top Trumps, John Adams for games and magic kits, Copyright Designs (part of International Greetings) for a collection of stationery and lunch sets, and Trade Mark Collections for bags and accessories, while Fashion UK will roll out an apparel collection.
Shoppers to Spend $83 Billion on Back-to-School
Grade school and college shoppers this year are expected to spend a total of $83.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School and College Surveys, conducted by BIGinsight.
According to the survey, of those who have already begun shopping, two in five (38.5 percent) with children in grades K-12 say at least half of the school-related purchases they made were influenced by coupons, sales, and promotions, down slightly from 41.5 percent last year. The same number of college shoppers (38.6 percent) said at least half of their purchases were influenced by sales and promotions, up from 34.2 percent last year.
When it comes to how families will pay for their school and college merchandise, the survey found debit/check cards are the preferred payment method for shoppers this summer. Four in 10 (42.5 percent) with children in grades K-12 will use their debit cards most often, similar to the 39.4 percent of college students and their families. More than one-quarter (28.4 percent) of those shopping for school items prefer to use cash and another 25.6 percent prefer credit cards. College shoppers are more likely to use their credit cards (29.4 percent) over cash (26.7 percent).
For more back-to-school survey data, visit www.nrf.com.
Chicago Toy & Game Group to Honor Coster Family
The Chicago Toy & Game Group’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the Fifth Annual Toy & Game Inventor Awards to the Coster Family, inventors of Guess Who, Play-On-WordZ, and Quips. The gala-style event will take place November 16 as part of the Chicago Toy & Game Week at The Field Museum of Chicago.
Theo and Ora Coster began their family business, Theora Design, in Israel in 1965. The couple produced novelties, which were given away for free to customers with other purchases. Theora Design became a world leader in the creation of toys, games, activities, crafts, dolls, electronic games, and novelties. Today, Theora owns the licensing rights to more 165 different concepts.
Theo and Ora will attend the TAGIEs with their two sons, Boaz and Gideon. Both Boaz and Gideon continue the toy and game tradition and will be honored as well. Boaz’s most recent accomplishment, Elefun, was a best seller.
To vote for your favorite toy or game inventor or to purchase tickets for the Toy & Game Inventor Awards gala, visit www.tagieawards.com. Voting ends on September 1.