Summer’s biggest movers and shakers
Those traditionally lazy, hazy days of summer have been anything but for a couple of U.S. toycos in acquisition mode. In June, Oak Brook, Illinois’ RC2 Corporation went on a bit of a shopping spree, picking up infant/toddler product manufacturer The First Years and collectibles company Playing Mantis. The deal between RC2 and Avon, Massachusetts’ The First Years is a cash merger in which RC2 will purchase outstanding shares of TFY – which posted annual net sales of US$138.9 million in March 2004 – for US$18.60 per share, equaling a cash consideration estimated at US$136.8 million. RC2 agreed to pay US$17 million in cash and another US$2.5 million in shares of its common stock for Playing Mantis, which pulled in US$28.5 million in revenue in 2003 and is known for its Johnny Lightning and Memory Lane collectible brands.
In other merger news, Malibu, California’s Jakks Pacific has completed its acquisition of Play Along, based in Deerfield, Florida. Jakks paid an estimated US$115 million – consisting of US$70 million in cash, US$15 million in Jakks common stock and an earn-out of US$30 million – for the company known for its Care Bears, Teletubbies and DC Comics licensed toys. Play Along achieved revenues of US$158 million in 2003, and Jakks is forecasting that combined revenue for 2004 should hit the US$440-million mark.
The WB goes back to school with Kmart
Property owners, who are presumably always on the lookout for a way to increase their mass retail exposure, might want to check out this month’s cross-promo between The WB and Kmart. Actors on such tween- and teen-friendly WB shows as 7th Heaven, One Tree Hill and newcomer Summerland will be wearing items from five new exclusive Kmart back-to-school apparel collections. In return, Kmart TV and print ads will feature the shows’ actors sporting the duds, and 200 million of the chain’s shopping bags will be splashed with the WB logo.