NEWS

Toy World acquires ToyNews and Licensing.biz

Published on: 8th June 2022

The deal, which marks Alakat Publishing Ltd’s first-ever acquisition, will see both titles transfer over to the publisher of Toy World, strengthening its grip on the toy market and allowing the company to extend its activity in the licensing sphere.

Alakat Publishing Ltd, the company behind market-leading B2B toy magazine Toy World, has concluded a deal to acquire ToyNews and licensing website Licensing.biz from Datateam Business Media Ltd. The agreement will see both titles being taken over by Toy World following a brief handover period, after which ToyNews will no longer be published as a standalone magazine or website. However, Licensing.biz will continue as a news-focused website, and Toy World plans to make the website even more informative and relevant to the core licensing community.

Toy World publisher John Baulch commented: “It has always been clear to me that the UK toy market could not viably support three B2B toy titles in the long term. When we initially launched Toy World, almost eleven years ago, it was never about simply increasing the number of toy publications available – choice can undoubtedly be a good thing, but too much choice and fragmentation benefits no-one. Instead, our aim was to provide the toy market with a dedicated magazine and website that was better than what had previously been on offer – a title which would focus on the mainstream toy market, with content that would be far more engaging and relevant for people in the toy community. Over the past decade, Toy World has given the toy industry all of that – and more. In particular, the past three years has shown just how valuable a strong trade magazine and website is to the toy eco-system. During the pandemic, when many of the traditional ways that information is shared were cut off, Toy World did not miss a single day’s email newsflash, or a single monthly edition. We kept going when other magazines and websites pressed the pause button; we helped to support the toy community through some of the biggest challenges it will ever face, and we have unquestionably seen the benefit of that decision as the business world begins to return to normal. Prior to this acquisition, Toy World had a commercial market share of over 86% (YTD 2022) in a three-book market; removing ToyNews from the market will now make Toy World the clear and obvious choice for all readers and advertisers, whichever part of the toy community they operate in.”

Talking about the opportunity to play a greater role in the licensing sphere moving forward, John continued: “We have always extolled the virtues of being a specialist publisher, laser focused on the toy market – we have never been interested in building a publishing empire or publishing magazines in completely unrelated markets, diluting our energy and focus. However, licensing has always played a pivotal role in our content strategy: licensing is a vital element in the world of toys and we have always worked closely with licensors which are active in the kids’ space. Even before the pandemic, we were looking for ways to increase our presence within the licensing arena.

“So, we were delighted when the opportunity came up to acquire a longstanding licensing title, while at the same time giving us the opportunity to ‘right size’ the toy media channel. We believe that our considerable experience, knowledge and contacts within the licensing market put us in the perfect position to develop licensing.biz even further, and to deliver fresh, lively content that is both engaging and relevant. We have always positioned Toy World as having its finger on the pulse of the toy market, and the team is looking forward to integrating into licensing circles in exactly the same way. We have always ‘lived and breathed’ toys – we will now be applying the same philosophy to the licensing channel. We are looking forward to extending our partnerships with many of the leading licensing companies and establishing new relationships with licensors that have not previously considered themselves as part of our orbit.”

Director of Alakat Publishing, Anita Baulch, added: “Our fantastic team has gone from strength to strength and its dedication and expertise is what makes Toy World the unparalleled success it is today. As Alakat Publishing develops further, I look forward to extending our remit to an additional licensing brand which I am confident will enjoy equally prestigious status within the industry.”

Anyone wishing to discuss how they can get involved in working with us on Licensing.biz should note the following details:

To find out more about our plans for the newly acquired titles, contact John Baulch on 07932 651207 – john@toyworldmag.co.uk  and for advertising enquiries, contact Mark Austin on 07710 532952 – mark@toyworldmag.co.uk.

For editorial enquiries, contact Rachael Simpson-Jones rachael@toyworldmag.co.uk or Sam Giltrow sam@toyworldmag.co.uk (both on 01442 502406).

We will of course update you in the near future when the handover of the website is complete.

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