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UPDATED BELOW with Statement from the Company...

As I've said before, the saga of the Toys "R" Us collapse just continues to get stranger as time goes on, with new layers of unusual and in some cases, unheard-of activity still being revealed. Following the announcement that Bain Captial and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) were setting up a $20M fund to provide some severance to a portion of the 33,000 workers that were left jobless following the closure of the toy retailer in the U.S., now comes word that plans are in motion for a revived Toys "R" Us that could be run by some of the very companies that drove the company into liquidation in the first place. One theory that's been floated in back channels and among former TRU employees and business partners in recent months has been that the long-awaited IP auction has been intentionally delayed, having been postponed from June to August and then again to October. Now that auction has been flat-out cancelled, and the reason may come as a surprise (or not) to many: some of the same lenders that forced the company into liquidation have been plotting to revive both Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us under a new retail entity.

If there's a poster company for toy industry consolidation, Basic Fun! just might be it. As the industry of play continues to evolve and more companies jockey for position in the wake of the Toys "R" Us closure in the U.S. and elsewhere, team-ups and mergers are where it's at, and that's something that Basic Fun! saw coming. Announced during Toy Fair 2017 and reported on here, Basic Fun! was formed by combining two smaller companies - The Bridge Direct and Tech 4 Kids. At the time, Tech 4 Kids CEO Brad Pedersen said that the new company had the "expectation to acquire or merge with new businesses every twelve to eighteen months" to fuel growth. Indeed, the company has grown, but at an accelerated rate, having already absorbed K'NEX, Uncle Milton and Good Stuff. Today comes word that the company just pulled another PAC-MAN, gobbling-up Playhut, maker of indoor and outdoor play structures.

Thursday, September 27 2018 08:48

DIE HARD: Now They Have Pop Vinyls, Ho-Ho-Ho!

Let's make something very clear right now: DIE HARD  is a Christmas movie. Same goes for its first sequel, DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER. There is no debate, period. With that in mind, it's exciting that Funko and 20th Century Fox have teamed-up for a new collection of Pop! Vinyl figures. Available for pre-order via my affiliates, Entertainment Earth and GameStop, there's John McClane (Bruce Willis), Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) and Tony Vreski (Andreas Wisniewski), along with a GameStop-exclusive version of Hans rockin' his long coat. A pick for my 2018 Holiday Wish Guide, these figures would make the perfect gift for the action lover on your list. Now can we get Argyle and Ellis? If you want these, you better order them now!

"Halls of Justice Painted Green/Money Talking..." 

As Metallica's legendary album "...And Justice For All" celebrates its 30th anniversary, you're gonna want to set aside a little bit of that green (around $11 or so) for the new LADY JUSTICE Pop! Vinyl figure from Funko! Just-announced, this iconic statue is brought to life once more as a 3 3/4" vinyl figure in a way that only the folks at Funko can. My friends at Entertainment Earth just put pre-orders online, with an expected ship date of November... just in time for the November 2 release of the expanded edition versions of the album. Sadly, word on the street is that Jason Newsted's mighty basslines may still be missing (or at least barely audible).

Published in Music News

It's a big day for Transformers as new toys from Paramount Pictures' Bumblebee Movie just hit pre-order (see them all here) and a whole bunch of new items from Cartoon Network's Transformers: Cyberverse just hit the streets. But that's not all - as some other items got into the mix including new plush keychains and an anticipated addition to the preschool-geared Rescue Bots line. My friends at Entertainment Earth just put them up for pre-order, so lets take a look...

The "action dolls" category just got a surprise addition - MARVEL RISING. Hasbro announced a new collaboration with Disney and Marvel for a nationwide rollout at Target stores for the new collection of 11" dolls and companion role play items. The animated Marvel Rising: Initiation shorts are currently available on Disney XD and Marvel HQ on Youtube, and the feature-length film Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors will premiere on Disney Channel and Disney XD on September 30th (see the new trailer here). The new toys feature Marvel’s next generation of Super Heroes including Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Quake, Patriot, American Chavez, Ghost-Spider, and more. These look great, and if you've seen Hasbro's recent line of Descendants dolls, these look very much in line with that... and there's also some fantastic apparel, Halloween costumes and walkie talkies in the mix. Check 'em out...

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