$14.6 billion. That is the estimated market capitalization of privately held toy maker LEGO. This makes the Danish company the world’s most valuable toy manufacturer by market capitalization, just ahead of American firm Mattel, which is valued at $14.4 billion, while Hasbro trails far behind both companies with a value of $5.4 billion. Japanese toy manufacturers Bandai and Tomy had a value of roughly $3.85 billion and $520 million respectively while Canadian firm Mega Brands, manufacturer of Mega Bloks, had a market capitalization slightly over $200 million.
Led by CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, LEGO saw revenues rise 25% last year and manufactured an impressive 45.7 billion bricks. LEGO’s greatly expanded its product offerings in recent years adding themes based on licenses such as The Lone Ranger, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Marvel and DC Superheroes. It has also created new original properties such as Friends, Ninjago and Chima. LEGO stores have also proliferated across North America and Europe.
The Kristiansen family, which owns LEGO, controls its stake through Kirkbi A/S, an investment company headquartered in the same town as LEGO, Billund, Denmark. Kirkbi also owns 36% of Merlin Entertainments Group; the owner of the LEGOLAND theme parks and Discovery Centers among other attractions around the world. Merlin Entertainments Group recently opened two new LEGOLAND theme parks, one in Florida and another in Malaysia as well as a LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Toronto, Canada with plans for another in New Jersey.
Source: Bloomberg, New York Times
Visitors to the Canadian International AutoShow, which took place in Toronto, Ontario, were in for a treat thanks to The Hot Wheels Camaro-matic Trending Machine. Visitors had the opportunity to tweet at the machine, which in turn would dispense a Hot Wheel’s Camaro diecast model. In order to receive a free Hot Wheels car, visitors would have to stand near the vending machine and enable Twitter’s location services to ensure that they were in close proximity to the Camaro-matic, then, they would have to tweet to @HotWheelsCanada while using the hashtag #ChevyCIAS. The vending machine was the brainchild of marketing company TrojanOne and Chevrolet Canada. TrojanOne modified the machine by allowing it to connect to the internet and communicate with Twitter.
A new line of Hot Wheels inspired constructable vehicles will be released in 2013 by Mega Bloks in association with Mattel. The Mega Bloks Hot Wheels collection will include construction sets such as the Build and Race assortment, a line of vehicles that are ripcord-powered and the Hot Wheels Test Facility. Other sets in the collection include the Urban Agent Escape Rig, which comes with a missile launcher and test ramp, and the motorized 3-in-1 Super Blitzen Monster Truck (pictured above), which can be transformed into three different vehicles with the use of custom parts. In addition, each set also comes complete with a Team Hot Wheels figure. The Mega Bloks Hot Wheels line was unveiled at the New York Toy Fair 2013, which runs from February 10th to the 13th in New York City. The new line’s announcement comes on the heels of another partnership between Mega Bloks and Mattel, which saw the creation of Barbie Mega Bloks construction sets which launched in late 2012.
After reaching a pre-order minimum production goal set by Matty Collector, the Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull will be going into production and will be set for delivery in late 2013. Castle Grayskull will be scaled to the proportions of Masters of the Universe Classic figures, which stand at roughly 6.5 inches tall. Priced at $250, the final sculpt of the Castle is set to be unveiled at Toy Fair 2013. Pre-orders for the item are nowopen and will continue being accepted until Janaury 4th, 2013.
Matchbox, a cornerstone of most boys and girls childhood used to be made by England based Lesney Product, instead of Mattel, as it is today. But unfortunately, the company, like much of its British toy manufacturing brethren, went out of business nearly 30 years ago. But, enthusiasts are trying to keep the memory of the British made diecast models alive with events like the The Wellington Toy and Diecast Fair in Wellington, New Zealand. With numerous Lesney models on display, other vintage British diecast cars from Dinky and Corgi will also be on show. Even though Matchbox is not the same as what it used to be 30 years ago, the memory and nostalgia of the original Lesney diecast is not going away any time soon.