Basic Fun! Acquires K’NEX
Basic Fun! has purchased the assets of K’NEX, joining Tech 4 Kids and Uncle Milton as the latest addition under the Basic Fun! umbrella.
“We are very pleased to be adding this incredible iconic toy brand into our platform,” said Jay Foreman, CEO of Basic Fun! “The K’NEX story is a great American toy story in every way – from its inception as a toy invention, to its unique manufacturing profile, to being recognized by consumers and the trade as a distinctive construction platform in one of the most challenging categories in the toy industry.”
“K’NEX was invented by Joel Glickman, one of the company’s founders, and our family has been operating this business for over 25 years,” says Michael Araten, current CEO of K’NEX. “It’s time for us to connect this wonderful brand and its innovative product line with new owners whom we expect will take K’NEX to new heights over the next 25 years. We are proud to have built an iconic brand that has inspired creativity in millions of children, young and old, all over the world.”
Basic Fun! plans to continue to manufacture K’NEX rods and connectors at an eco-friendly manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania under a long-term agreement with The Rodon Group and will continue to operate the K’NEX office and distribution center in Hatfield, PA.
Both Basic Fun! and K’NEX will showcase their 2018 product lines at the New York Toy Fair, in separate displays on the main floor of the Jacob Javits Center. The companies’ products will come together under one roof in subsequent shows later in the year. Both companies’ products can be found at major brick and mortar retailers, as well as online, in North America and all over the world.
Pocket.watch Names Toy, Apparel Partners
Pocket.watch has tapped Bonkers Toys and The Bentex Group to help build its original characters and creator partner YouTube brands (Ryan ToysReview, EvanTubeHD, JillianTubeHD, HobbyKidsTV, and Captain Sparklez) into franchises that extend into the real world. Under the company’s respective pocket.watch Apparel and pocket.watch Toys banners, The Bentex Group (affiliates of H.I.S. International, Dreamwave, and Extreme Concepts) will serve as master apparel partner with Bonkers Toys on board for a robust toy licensing agreement. The deals will lead to the creation of a dedicated line of apparel, toys, and collectibles featuring the likenesses of pocket.watch’s popular creator partners and original characters for fans to enjoy while introducing a lifestyle aspect to each collection tied to each creator’s favorite things.
The Bentex Group will be charged with developing an extensive clothing line featuring pocket.watch’s creator partners and original characters. The branded apparel will be promoted by pocket.watch creators within their videos and through their social media channels. The apparel line, expected to launch for holiday 2018, will be featured by The Bentex Group in a flexible pocket.watch branded showroom at 34 West 33rd Street in N.Y.
Under the pocket.watch Toys umbrella, Bonkers Toys will be responsible for developing the first toy line for Ryan ToysReview. The line, which will debut during Toy Fair 2018, will include blind bag collectibles and other packaged formats including figures, vehicles, plush, compounds (slime), and other novelty collectibles. Bonkers Toys will also begin developing lines for other pocket.watch creators including EvanTubeHD and HobbyKidsTV.
This announcement comes on the heels of pocket.watch’s agreement to create a pocket.watch Book imprint with Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, to feature its creator partners and characters in books.
For more about pocket.watch please visit pocket.watch.
GennComm Launches ImaGENNation
GennComm LLC has officially spun-off a new division called ImaGENNation, focused on brand and IP innovation. Founded by 20-plus year consumer products marketing veteran Genna Rosenberg, ImaGENNation delivers strategic IP and brand development, creative marketing and content services, unique business models and partnerships to create opportunity for a wide range of clients.
With more than a dozen programs in play and robust portfolios under representation, including entertainment and consumer product IP owners, inventors, and product manufacturers, GennComm nurtured its ImaGENNation division over the past five years, and now has a dedicated, seasoned and visionary team. Its first program hits retail this spring, an ImaGENNation-owned and developed plush feature licensed to Beverly Hills Teddy Bear, which the company plans to market under multiple brand names. ImaGENNation also represents third-party IP including Cozy Wingz from Epiphany Schwarz, which it licensed to Jay@Play. The company expects to launch Cozy Wingz on TV this spring, and then at retail later in the year.
GennComm is a global strategic communications and marketing agency, with PR, social media, licensing and partner marketing clients including PlayMonster, Wicked Cool Toys, SYBO Games, Jazwares, Rube Goldberg, Boogie Board, The Bentonville Film Festival, and more. GennComm is an active leader in Women in Toys, The Toy Association, Licensing Industry Merchandising Association, and Los Angeles Community Leaders.
Asmodee Acquires Entire Mayfair Games Catalog, Mayfair Shutters Doors
The games publisher best known for developing Settlers of Catan, Mayfair Games, announced that it will cease operations after 36 years. Asmodee North America has acquired all its assets. The acquisition includes the product line for both Mayfair Games, Inc. and Lookout Games, GmbH.
Moving forward, Mayfair product will continue to be available through previously established distribution channels including Alliance Game Distributors for all sales in the U.S. to the hobby market and with Esdevium Games (now Asmodee UK) for the UK market.
Cortex Toys to Make Its Debut at New York Toy Fair
The new toy company, Cortex Toys, makes its debut at New York Toy Fair later this week.
Founded by John Cowan, a Neurosurgeon in Georgia, Cortex Toys will launch with a line-up of toys that have been collected from inventors, acquisitions, and innovations based on trends in the industry. Cortex will showcase its brands and its first big launch, SnapDolls, hitting store shelves in April 2018.
“I have always had a passion for creativity and innovation, the reason I started Cortex Toys,” said John Cowan, President of the Georgia-based toy company. “Although my background is in neurosurgery and this is an entirely new industry, I am looking forward to the evolution of Cortex, building strong partnerships across the toy industry and having a lot of fun along the way.”
Cortex Toys will introduce SnapDolls, Ninja Ball, Pirate Pong and its line of “Flip” products including TrickTacToe, FlipGrip, and the bottle flipping game, FlipTacToe.
Never Wrong Toys Launches at Toy Fair 2018
Never Wrong Toys will launch at New York Toy Fair under the guidance of industry vet Eva Wong.
Founded by Wong and Markan Industrial Group Ltd., this newly formed toy company will debut a selection of games, action games, novelties, collectibles, and activities at Toy Fair 2018.
Having held previous roles at toy companies such as Spin Master and BOT-I Global, Wong has built a portfolio of toy industry expertise. Well versed in product development, operation and general management, sales, and new business development, Wong has utilized her extensive experience and skill set to lead the launch and direction of Never Wrong Toys.
As part of its launch blueprint, Never Wrong Toys has retained ChizComm Ltd as its marketing partner. ChizComm will utilize its experience with consumer product launches to implement strategic marketing
campaigns and assist with launching Never Wrong Toys into the global market.