Toy Biz (formerly stylized as ToyBiz and later re-branded to Marvel Toys) was an American toy company which later became a subsidiary of Marvel Enterprises/Entertainment. It was best known for producing action figures, stuffed toys, and role-playing games of various licensed brands and characters.
|Founded||1988 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Products||Games, toys and children's vehicles; dolls and stuffed toys|
The company originated in Montreal, Quebec, as Charan Toys. In 1988, Charan Toys was renamed to ToyBiz and became an American firm. In 1990, it obtained the master toy license for the Marvel Entertainment Group, and by 1993 became partially owned by Marvel. In 1998, ToyBiz merged with Marvel Entertainment Group to bring it out of bankruptcy, with the two companies merging and creating Marvel Enterprises. Whilst the original 'ToyBiz' was absorbed into Marvel Enterprises, Marvel Enterprises called its main toy subsidiary 'Toy Biz' (with the space in-between the two words), as consumers were familiar with the Toy Biz brand. In 2005, Marvel Enterprises was renamed to Marvel Entertainment to reflect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to this, Toy Biz replaced its name with 'Marvel Toys' on some of its non-Marvel figure lines to reflect the universe name change. The subsidiary would then become 'Marvel Toys' outright by the end of 2006.
Due to Marvel Entertainment's bankruptcy, the company became financially unable to continue to run the Marvel Toys subsidiary at its current level, and Hasbro purchased the master toy license for Marvel Entertainment characters, releasing its first products in January 2007. Marvel Toys attempted to survive with non-Marvel owned characters throughout 2007, though still faced financial problems. The website for Marvel Toys became inactive in late 2007.
Late 20th century to 1997Edit
Charan Toys (Canadian company)Edit
The company's original forerunner was a Canadian company, Chantex, Inc., which started in the late 19th century. Started by the Zuckerman family, the business grew from $.16 million in sales to sales of $4.5 million in 1980. In 1980, Chantex merged with Earl Takefman's Randim Marketing, Inc., a school supply manufacturer and wholesaler, to become Charan Industries Inc. Its Charan Toy, Inc. subsidiary became a leading licensing toy company in 1985. In addition to toys, Charan implemented brands in other areas, including acquiring a hockey equipment brand in the mid-1980s.
Toy Biz (American company)Edit
In 1990, Charan, including the Toy Biz subsidiary, was purchased by businessman Ike Perlmutter. In 1993, Toy Biz made a deal for "exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free licenses" of Marvel Characters for 46 percent of Toy Biz equity. Avi Arad, a toy designer and comic book fan joined Toy Biz that same year.
Toy Biz continued licensing outside brands, including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess action figures based on the Action Pack television series shown on many New World television stations. Also, agreements with Gerber and NASCAR were acquired. In 1995, Toy Biz acquired Spectra Star, Inc. and Quest Aerospace Education, Inc., both toy companies. Toy Biz started up its Classic Heroes candy division in 1996, which sold candy/toy combinations using mainly Marvel characters. The company also entered the electronic learning aids (ELA) segment of the toy industry in 1996 with a licensing agreement with Apple Computer.
Toy Biz partially acquired Marvel Entertainment Group. In the late 1990s, Marvel Entertainment Group filed for bankruptcy and became the subject of a battle for control in bankruptcy court. The company was salvaged in 1997 and merged with Toy Biz in 1998. The new company became Marvel Enterprises, and Toy Biz became a division of the new company.
1998 to 2007Edit
Toy Biz as a subsidiaryEdit
In 1999, Toy Biz ventured into professional wrestling. Toy Biz to acquired the master toy license of World Championship Wrestling (WCW). After two years, the license deal was cut short, due to WCW being purchased by the World Wrestling Federation/WWF (Now World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE) in 2001. The company also licensed products for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
In 2001, Marvel Enterprises licensed the rights to the 'Toy Biz' name to a Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer, Toy Biz Worldwide Ltd. Toy Biz also outsourced much of the manufacturing to Toy Biz Worldwide. The deal was ended abruptly in 2006.
In September 2005, Marvel Enterprises changed its name to Marvel Entertainment to reflect the corporation's expansion into creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a result of this change, Toy Biz would replace some branding of its figure lines, and replace it with a 'Marvel Toys' logo instead. This only applied to non-Marvel Comics products, as Marvel Comics characters would still continue to use the Toy Biz branding.
Marvel Entertainment licensing agreement to HasbroEdit
In January 2006, Marvel Entertainment signed a five-year licensing agreement with Hasbro Inc. for $205 million, giving Hasbro the right to make toys and games based on Marvel Comic licenses. As a result of this, Marvel Entertainment prematurely terminated its agreement with Toy Biz Worldwide Ltd, by a year. As a result of the early termination, Marvel Entertainment paid Toy Biz Worldwide a penalty of between $13–16 million USD. Marvel Entertainment officially stopped using the "Toy Biz" branding and name from 1 January 2007, and the division was rebranded as Marvel Toys.
Throughout 2007, the division struggled to stay afloat without the Marvel Comic characters. The company introduced a series called the Legendary Comic Book Heroes – making action figures of non-Marvel Comic characters, though it suffered with poor sales. The company also furthered its TNA Wrestling, Code Lyoko and Curious George lines. Marvel Entertainment quietly began to close the division. In late 2007, the company's website shut down.[failed verification]
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