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New Beasts begin shipping in November!

Date: Saturday, August 24th 1996 12:00am CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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According to Kenner, the Beast Wars line will expand to approximately 40 figures by the end of this year and the beginning of the next. Of all these new toys, four will be female characters. Proposed new forms for Beast Wars toys include a falcon, a crab, a praying mantis, and possibly more dinosaur forms. It was also mentioned that the Besat Wars Transformers are one of the three best selling Boys toys alongside Power Rangers and Star Wars!


Special thanks to Anthony Gaud of Kenner and Andrius Schmid for this information: there are plans for at least 2 Beast Wars combiner giant toys. The designs for these giants has been so successful that there are ideas being tossed around Kenner for a Super Combiner.


There are no plans at this time for any Beast Wars cities but the idea has crossed the minds of the Beast Wars toy team.


Multi-formers (such as Triplechangers and Sixchangers) are being considered but none have been created yet. Any such characters would be introduced in season two of Beast Wars (which has not been given a go ahead yet as of August 24th, 1996. One proposed form is a triple changing ant.


Basic Beasts: New additions enter the ferocious Beast Wars, fought between the Maximals and the Predacons, robot warriors disguised as wild animals! Each figure feature quick-attack conversion and hidden robot weapons as well as an "Energon Chip" decal that reveals a robot's allegiance when rubbed. (Editor's note: YES! We have symbols finally!!!) Scheduled for this release are up to four new figures - Falcon, Crab, Squid, and Elephant Bug - as well as the previously released Insecticon, Armordillo, Razorbeast, Iguanus, Rattrap, Snapper, and Terrorsaur.


Deluxe Beasts: These genetically-engineered Transformers begin a new breed of battles! Designed with eciting detail and secret working weapons, these figures feature hidden missile launchers that really shoot and an "Energon Chip" decal that reveals a robot's allegiance when rubbed! Scheduled for this release are up to five new figures - Shark, Dragonfly, Bison, Praying Mantis, and Velociraptor - as well as the previously released Wolfang, Tigatron, Cheetor, Dinobot, Tarantulas, Rhinox, Waspinator, Blackarachnia, and Buzzsaw!


Mega Beasts: These mega Beasts are truly horric, as you can tell by checking out the evil Inferno fire ant, which converts to a battle ready robot! Inferno features air attack and humanoid modes, with a hidden launcher that fires detachable leg missiles and a tail that splits into four sections with mechanized spinning action! With all the figures, rubbing the "Energon Chip" reveals the robot's allegiance - Maximal or evil Predacon. Scheduled for this release are three new figures - Fire Ant, Baboon, and Mosquito - as well as the previously released Polar Claw and Scorponok.


Microverse Beast Wars Playsets: The evil Predacons and the heroic Maximals do battle - in miniature! Scheduled for this release are: Predacon Arachnid, in which a spider converts to the evil Predacon Command Base; and Maximal Oranoch, in which a killer whale converts to a heroic Maximal Command Base!


The future of the Transformers will revolve around Beast Wars and an additional line called "Machine Wars". Both lines are planned to coincide with each other in 1997.


This article was originally published in TRANS-FORUM by the owner of SEIBERTRON.com


Dave's World

Date: Friday, July 5th 1996 12:00am CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Until recently, I felt there was no where in Michigan that held any interest in the Transformers or their universe.


Last year, at Michigan's largest comic book convention (the Motor City Comicon), I found a dealer who sold Japanese Transformers cartoons. After purchasing a few of the tapes (which I recommend to anyone who can get their hands on some) my pursuit of a Michigan Transformers following began. Eventually, it brought me to a comic shop I had been visiting for the last eight years (Time Traveler's in Berkely, MI off 12 Mile). This store carries everything under the sun as far as action figures and comic books are concerned. Most importantly, this store had Transformers.


One of the employees I met, Dave Mamer, was very helpful with my Transformers purchases.


Laster, I discovered that he had a business out of his home. It is called "The Empire". He sells a variety of toys from his home. Some of the collectible toys he sells range from the X-Men toys to the Super Power to Mego to G.I.Joe. His second largest focus after Transformers are the Star Wars toys. I soon discovered that the majority of his sales and collections are (of course) the Transformers.


His basement is covered with Transformers. He has everything I could have imagined. From boxed Transformers to loose Transformers, the cards, to collector's cases - Dave's "Empire" has it all.


Dave originally started out by selling the Star Wars toys, with a little of everything on the side. As he began buying more and more collections, he became less picky, and soon started taking whatever was with the collections he looked over.


As for Star Wars, Dave has basically gone as far as he wants to currently. He has most of the figures, and feels there is little room for growth with his Star Wars collection.


"I found the Transformers more interesting that anything else," Dave stated candidly in an interview with Trans-Forum. "The Transformers are cooler!"


Dave can be found travelling around the country as both a dealer and a collector; visitingĀ a variety of shows from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Illinois, all the way to Colorado. The next upcoming show Dave will be dealing at will be Botcon July 12th - 14th, 1996, in Chicago.


As for what Dave sells, he has a large variety of both loose and boxed. The majority of what he sells is loose, however he does have some highly desired boxed characters such as Fortress Maximus and Megatron. He occassionally sells Transformers accessories he may have, but only if they are extras.


Only Time Will Tell

Transformers News: Only Time Will Tell
Date: Friday, July 5th 1996 12:00am CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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I guess now is as good a time as any to spill my Beast Wars Transformers theories. I myself have two. One I heard through the grapevines. The other is my own that I prefer.


The theory I heard goes something like this: This is a different timeline, one where the Ark's computer system awoke long before the 4 million years it took in both the comics and cartoons. Instead of the Ark/Teletran1 discovering "mechanical" life, all it discovered was animals. Teletran then proceeded with a new Transformers technology, combining carbon-based life (animals) with that of Transformer life.


The second theory is as follows: remember in the comic how the Nebulans poisoned their atmosphere with a chemical that slowly killed Transformers in an effort to rid their planet of the Transformers? Well, the humans on Earth recently devised and released a similar poison forcing the Transformers back to their home planet of Cybertron. Megatron and his Decepticons needed Earth's vast resources so he created a way to combine carbon-based life with that of the Transformers. He then creates the Predacons led by another Megatron, which is really the cloned mind of the original Megatron.


Once the Autobots hear of the Predacons on Earth, Optimus Prime follows suit and sends his version of the Predacons to Earth - the heroic Maximals. The Maximals are lead by Optimus Primal, who has the cloned mind of Prime.


Megatron and Prime both run into a problem with their clones. The wild animal side of their clones beings altering the typical behaviors of an Optimus Prime or Megatron. Eventually, the Maximals and Predacons take on their own separate lives from the original Transformers.


Well, that's my [theory]! Anyone else like to take a shot at the Beast Wars / Generation One connection?


This article was originally published in TRANS-FORUM by the owner of SEIBERTRON.com


Botcon '96 Takes Over The Windy City

Date: Friday, July 5th 1996 12:00am CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 639,892

The 3rd annual Transformers Convention has been set. Men In Black Collectibles have brought Botcon to Chicago, Illinois this year. So get ready to transform and roll out on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday July 12th - 14th, 1996.


Planned for the convention: Kenner will be present to talk about the current line. Kenner will bring along a few unique "one-of-a-kind" items for fans to be in awe over.


As usual, there will be a dealer room to buy all your Transformers merchandise. A free showing of Transformers: The Movie on Friday for pre-registrants only. A video room for screening of your favorite Transformers episodes. A panel room for discussions and panels on Transformers. A display room will hold a collection of Transformers items to be admired.


This year's convention will be held at the Clarion Resort in Rosemont, Illinois. Conveniently located near O'Hare Airport, the Clarion has shuttles from the airport every 15 minutes. Negotiated with the hotel, the rate per room will be the same as last year; $67.00 a night. So this year you get a great rate and the big city of Chicago to go out and have fun in.


The Clarion Hotel is lcoated off I-90 on the Mannheim Road North exit. Reservations can be made by calling (800)221-2222 or their local number is (847)297-8464. The 800 number does not have the $67.00 rate so you will have to call the local number to get the special BOTCON rate. Clarion may be reached by writing to Clarion Resort, 6810 N Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018. Make sure to mention you are registering for BOTCON.


Dealers can set up Friday afternoon from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and some attendees will be able to attend the Friday set-up to get the first chance on good toys. This "dealer day" first chance pass is available only through preregistration. The "Dealer Day" first chance pass will allows guests in the dealer room Friday between 7:00pm and 9:00pm and at 8:00am-9:00am on Saturday.


Non-registrants costs will be $7.00 for a one-day pass, and $10 for the weekend pass. No walk-ins are available for Friday's showing of Transformers: The Movie.


This article was originally published in TRANS-FORUM by the owner of SEIBERTRON.com


And From Headquarters (July 1996) ...

Transformers News: And From Headquarters (July 1996) ...
Date: Friday, July 5th 1996 12:00am CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 656,562

About a month ago, the first issue of Trans-Forum was sent across the world to many people. Perhaps you were wondering how I created Trans-Forum's mailing list? Simple. I pulled out all of the complete addresses from Transformers: Generation 2 Transmissions.


Is everyone pumped about Botcon? I sure am. July 12th cannot come fast enough! I am very anxious.


Please help me recruit new Trans-Forum members. Tell your friends about it. Send their names and addresses on an additional sheet of paper if you feel they may be interested.


I will be handing out copies of this special edition at BOTCON in hopes of recruiting many new members.


Well, once again, I am out of space and time. The next issue will begin Trans-Forum's regular quarterly schedule starting in October. Until then, enjoy Botcon '96 and I hope to see you there! Roll out!


This article was originally published in TRANS-FORUM by the owner of SEIBERTRON.com


The Beast Within!

Transformers News: The Beast Within!
Date: Thursday, June 6th 1996 12:00am CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 690,272

The Transformers have returned with an animalistic vengeance in 1996!!! The Besaet Wars Transformers have brought upon a new era of Transformers greatness. The Beast Wars Transformers have out sold almost every other action figure in my area. These new Transformers are hot, fresh, and very exciting.


It appears that 1996 will be the extra push Transformers has needed for many years. Already this year, fourteen new Transformers have been released; a McDonald's Happy Meal promotion with five additional Transformers was released throughout March and April; some of the biggest Beast Wars Transformers toys this year have yet to be released; and a hot, new computer animated cartoon series will be in syndication on television this fall!


My only disappointment with these new Beast Wars Transformers has to do with the fact that there are no Autobots or Decepticons! Optimus Primal leads the heoric Maximals defending the Earth from Megatron and his evil Predacons! While I have thoroughly enjoyed the newest additions to the Transformers Universe, I do miss the cataclysmic battles between the Autobots and Decepticons. I will share with you my theory on the Autobot/Maximal and Decepticon/Predacon connection at a later date.


This article was originally published in TRANS-FORUM by the owner of SEIBERTRON.com


Hop in your Deceptive Automobile to BotCon '96!

Date: Thursday, June 6th 1996 12:00am CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 711,030

Botcon 1996 will be held in Rosemont, Illinois, not far from Chicago! The 1996 International Transformers convention, BOTCON, will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Transformers: The Movie. Can you believe it? 10 years ago this August, Transformers: The Movie was released throughout the world on the big screen!


Men In Black, the group of people who have orchestrated the Trasnformers convention, live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. From their house they buy, sell and trade Transformers with people from all over the country and in Michigan.


Botcon '96 will be held in the Rosemont Clarion Resort from July 12th - 14th. Hotel accommodattions can be made by contacting the Clarion Resort at (847)297-8464. Hotel rooms are $67.00 per night, per room, and they are going fast! Just let them know that you are staying for the Men In Black convention block.


Men In Black have made a deal with Hasbro/Kenner to make an exclusive toy for BOTCON '96. This year's Botcon Transformer will be a repainted black/gold/gray Beast Wars Optimus Primal bat. It looks much cooler than the original Optimus Primal.


Dennis Barger, one of Men In Black's head honchos, can be contacted at (313)483-TOYS for any additional information regarding BOTCON '96. If you have access to the World Wide Web, you can contact Men In Black's web site at http://www.htonline.com/Men_in_Black.


This article was originally published in TRANS-FORUM by the owner of SEIBERTRON.com


Poor Sales May Deal Toy Robots Fatal Blow

Transformers News: Poor Sales May Deal Toy Robots Fatal Blow
Date: Sunday, December 16th 1990 12:01am CST
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 760,341


Written by Karen Schwartz for the Associated Press


Pawtucket, R.I. -- After years of battling for control of the universe, Transformers, those toy robots that can change form, may have met their demise from sagging sales.


Hasbro Inc., which made nearly $950 million selling Transformers over the past seven years, is re-evaluating whether domestic demand is strong enough to justify costly promotion, company spokesman Wayne Charness said last week.


"Certainly Transformers had a fantastic run, and we are going to review whether the run continues or whether it goes away," he said.


Hasbro kept the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons going for years by inventing and supplying weapons for both sides of the Transformers battle. It also developed a complicated story line of a futuristic mechanical being that crash-landed on Earth in search of fuel and power supplies.


In its heyday in 1985, Transformers generated about $333 million for Hasbro, accounting for 27 percent of the company's annual net revenue. This year, the product is expected to garner only about 2.4 percent, or $35 million.


Hasbro worldwide net sales should total about $1.46 billion this year, up from about $1.41 billion last year, said Gary Jacobson, toy industry analyst for Kidder, Peabody & Co. of New York.


Charness said such staples as GI Joe and Cabbage Patch Kids dolls continue to be top sellers, along with new items such as New Kids on the Block dolls and World Wrestling Federation figures.


Transformers continue to sell well in other countries, where the toys were introduced more recently, Charness said. A decision on the future of Transformers in this country should be made shortly, he said.


"With any product you'd love to have it last forever and ever," he said. "Our job (is)... to give it as long a life as it can."


If Hasbro decides to discontinue U.S. sales of Transformers, it will end one of the toy industry's biggest success stories in years.


"It had a terrific run," said Paul Valentine, a toy industry analyst at Standard & Poor's Corp. of New York. "It was one of the major hits of the 1980s."


Another industry analyst, Sean McGowan of Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. of New York, said: "The question of Transformers is not 'Why did it die?' but 'Why did it live so long?'"


The answer lies, at least in part, in Hasbro's marketing strategy. The Pawtucket-based company constantly updated the line with new figures and vehicles. It offered various models to appeal to different pocketbooks. And there was a Transformers television cartoon show and a movie.


Over the years, Hasbro became less agressive about marketing the figures.


"We certainly continued to support Transformers but not at the level we did when it was the most popular toy in the country," Charness said.


The line of toy robots arrived in 1983 when it was unveiled at the annual toy fair in New York by the Japanese toy company Takara.


Hasbro worked out a licensing arrangement with Takara. Meanwhile, Tonka Corp. of Minnetonka, Minn., introduced a competing line, GoBots, in early 1984.


"Although Transformers appeared five months after GoBots, Hasbro came from behind and outsold GoBots almost 2-1," according to the book "Toyland: The High Stakes Game of the Toy Industry."


Transformers generated about $111.6 million in sales that year.


"I think it really brought a fun new play to toys," said Charness. "The whole transformation theme -- it was an exciting one for kids, and I think done well it continues to be."


Editor's Note: This newspaper article was obtained through Linden High School's micro-fiche film library during my senior year in 1995. Linden High School is located in Linden, Mi. See ... it pays to save all that stuff!!!


Hottest toy sells out before it's delivered

Transformers News: Hottest toy sells out before it's delivered
Date: Monday, December 24th 1984 12:01am CST
Categories: Toy News, Site Articles, Store News
Posted by: Seibertron | Credit(s): Unknown

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The mustachioed man in the blue jogging suit was in a dilemma.

He kept staring at the rack of Go Bots and Robo Force creatures. Sure, the Robo Force robot has "powerful crusher arms" and can stick to walls, and the Go Bot robot can change from the Block Head Enemy to a cement mixer.

But the big question remained: Would they satisfy his son? Would they hold his attention?

Jason is 10, and like thousands of other youngsters across the country, he has put Transformers - the new Hasbro Industries, Inc., wonder toy - at the top of his Christmas list.

But he may have to settle for one of the other robot-type toys, such as Go Bots or Robo Force. His dad, 37 year-old Joe North of Mount Washington, is among a growing number of parents who can't get their hands on the darn Transformers.

They are too popular. The craze for the colorful little plastic and metal robots which can be transformed into cars, planes and guns has turned normally polite parents into pushing and shoving fanatics who will do almost anything to get little Johnny or Sue what they want.

Yesterday, a mother awaiting a toy shipment at Toys-R-Us in Towsontowne Marketplace recalled getting caught in a mob scene at the same store several weeks ago.

"I'm not very good in crowds. People were pushing and shoving and I didn't get anything." she said, even though she had been among those waiting the longest.

And several weeks ago at Kiddie City in Eastern Center Plaza the police were summoned by a woman who wanted to press charges against the pushy person behind her, recalled Eric Blackmer, the store's assistant manager.

The toys, which range in price from $3 to $30, are so much in demand they rarely make it to the shelves. As soon as the toys are brought in off the truck in cartons, scads of eager parents grab them up.

But early yesterday morning at Toys-R-Us there were only two mothers, including the one with the bad luck, hovering in the back of the store near the coloring books and blocks, awaiting the day's shipment. The hordes must have known it wasn't the day, because the truck didn't come.

The day before there was a line and a truck did come in. But there were no Transformers aboard. And that's expected to be the scenario until the new year, when Hasbro comes out with dozens of new Transformers including Dinobots, which turn from robots into dinosaurs.

"I could kill myself," said Pat Milan, 30, of Baltimore City. "I saw an Optimus Prime in the summertime for $20 and I didn't buy it."

Optimus Prime is the Transformer to end all Transformers. He is the leader of the noble Autobots (the evil Transformers are called Decepticons) and with a few twists and turns he becomes a tractor trailer. (Second in popularity is Soundwave. It looks like a miniature cassette player until it is magically transformed into a robot. He is a Decepticon, a bad guy, whose motto is "Cries and screams are music to my ears.")

Will Mrs. Milan's son be devastated when he wakes up Christmas morning and doesn't find Optimus under the tree?

"He won't hold it against me," Mrs. Milan said. "He happens to be a smart kid. He understands that toy makers have kids on a string."

Transformers have been a hot item since they hit the market in May [1984], and that was the time to shop for them.

"This is beyond our wildest dreams," said Stephen Schwartz, senior vice president of marketing at Hasbro in Pawtucket, R.I.

Hasbro - which also brought kids GI Joe and My LIttle Pony - has shipped $100 million worth of Transformers since their introduction into this country eight months ago. That is wholesale dollars, he said.

To give a comparison, Mr. Schwartz noted that Coleco shipped $60 million worth of Cabbage Patch Kids in its first 12 months.

Coleco has little to worry about, however.Their homely dolls once again are among the most wanted and hardest to get toys.

People can put their names on a waiting list, but with little hope of receiving a doll before Christmas. A person who signed up at Toys-R-Us in Towson became number 10,219 on the list yesterday.

And the glum prospect for satisfying a child with a Transformer this season is echoed in toy stores all over town.

"The truck came this afternoon and we got 32 cartons. But no Transformers. I doubt if we will get any more [before Christmas]," said a worker at Best Products in Towson.

What's the attraction?

Mr. Schwartz believes it lies in "the magic of transforming something from one thing into another ... it's a real fantasy world."

One 8-year-old summed it up this way: "They're neat. GI Joes and those kind of toys are just boring. But these new things can change form robot to vehicle or plane. It's really neat."

Incidentally, Joe North, the man in the blue running suit who was trying to find the toy with the most action, finally settled on a Robot watch. Time will tell if he made the right choice.


Note from Ryan: Sucks to be that kid. This newspaper article was obtained through Linden High School's micro-fiche film library during my senior year in 1995. Linden High School is located in Linden, Mi. See ... it pays to save all that stuff!!!

Milton Bradley purchase, hot toys put Pawtucket firm near industry's top

Date: Sunday, December 23rd 1984 5:24pm CST
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 831,696

Written by Hamilton Allen for the Providence Journal


PAWTUCKET - In September, it bought a company that had been losing money. Some observers said the deal was no bargain.


In October, its new president - on the job less than three weeks - resigned.


In November, it announced plans to shut a major plant and move its operations to other states; at least 450 people would lose their jobs.


But don't get out the handkerchiefs. This is Hasbro Bradley Inc., which probably has done more to put Pawtucket on the business map than any other company since Samuel Slater built his mill.


It was in September that Hasbro, a 48-year-old company with 2,000 employees, acquired Milton Bradley, a 124-year old game and puzzle maker with 4,000 employees and operations in 14 foreign countries.


The acquisition, merging two familiar names in the toy and game trade, created one of the largest toy and game manufacturers in the nation. It may soon be the largest.


"If Hasbro isn't number one, they'll be a very close second I'll tell you," said Stephen F. Smith, editor in chief of Toy & Hobby World, the industry's most widely circulated trade publication. Just how large that will be will be decided early next year when annual sales figures come out.


Stephen Hassenfeld, Hasbro's chairman, says sales are now running at the rate of $875 million annually. For 1984, however, total sales will be less because Milton Bradley's contributions are limited to the last six months of 1984.


Even so, the numbers reflect an increase of major proportions: Sales of $138 million two years ago, $730 million this year; net income of $7 million two years ago, $48 million this year.


That assures Hasbro a berth in the Fortune 500 - the annual listing of the 500 largest US industrial corporations, based on sales. The only Rhode Island company now on that list is Textron, the Providence-based conglomerate. Nortek, a diversified manufacturer now moving from Cranston to Providence, is also likely to win a place on the list. It expects sales of more than $500 million for 1984.


Hasbro's growth in business means growth in the managerial, executive and professional staff. The company added about 200 to its Pawtucket staff this year and will probably add another 200 in 1985, Hassenfeld said.


In a state as small as Rhode Island, that can have a significant ripple effect on real estate, grocery stores and other consumer goods and services.


Some of Hasbro's growth results from the acquisition. A number of people coming to the Pawtucket area to live are moving from the former Milton Bradley headquarters in Springfield, Mass., and from the former Chicago headquarters of Playskool, a Milton Bradley subsidiary.


But growth at the home office in Pawtucket also reflects internal growth. Before the merger on September 10th, Hasbro's administrative and professional staff in Rhode Island had increased by 105 this year, Hassenfeld said.


Hasbro is now working to accommodate the staff increase. Most of the people new to the home office will work at headquarters, thus displacing manufacturing space there.


Manufacturing is to move to a Hasbro building on Delta Drive, off Armistice Boulevard in Pawtucket. The building is now used for warehouse and distribution functions, which will be moved to West Warwick where Hasbro has leased more than half (260,000 square feet) of the BIF building off Route 95.


Meanwhile, the former Milton Bradley headquarters in Springfield, Mass., is for sale.


Hassenfeld, 42, grandson of one of the company's founding brothers, occupies an office that is unusually spare - no pictures on the wall, no drapes at the windows, little furniture. Magazines sit in stacks by the dozen on the floor and a large conference table.


He's running an hour late as he summarizes the benefits he expects from the Milton Bradley purchase.



  • The opportunity to be more significant in the pre-school market. The company will take the best of Hasbro's traditional preschool line and the best of Playskool, discarding the rest. Playskool will probably be the name for the combined line.
  • The opportunity to be more significant in the global market. Milton Bradley's foreign manufacturing and sales had given the company 37 percent of total sales. Hasbro, which only had plants in Canada and England, can now sell toys through the Milton Bradley network.
  • A broader project line. If Hasbro can get several popular toys on the store shelves, it can continue to reduce dependence on one or two high-volume toys. Hassenfeld says he seeks diversity the same way an investor seeks to balance his securities portfolio. Too many toy and game companies, he says, rely on a single product and then aren't able to resist any kind of a down draft in sales of those products.

He cites the G.I.Joe toy line, the company's most popular product, as an example.


"Joe," as he's known at headquarters, contributed 40 percent of total sales two years ago. Hassenfeld confesses that while he loved Joe's success, Hasbro's dependence on the toy "made me nervous."


This year, Joe will capture $125 million in sales - but that's only 17 percent of total estimated sales.


The merger is now more than three months old, but the effort of bringing two large companies together has had its rough spots.


There was the matter of James J. Shea Jr, son of a Milton Bradley chairman. Shea, at 58, was himself chairman, president and chief executive officer of Milton Bradley at the time of the acquisition.


On September 10th, with the merger completed, he was named president and chief operating officer of Hasbro Bradley.


Less than three weeks later, Shea announced his resignation. The slot was immediately filled by Alan G. Hassenfeld, 36, younger brother of the chairman, who had been executive vice president.


"I would have liked it to have worked out differently," Stephen Hassenfeld said. "It didn't, and it surprised probably no one; it didn't surprise anyone in the industry."


Shea, he said, is a man "whose style is quite different from mine. I tend to run things on a much more participatory basis, but that doesn't mean that his style was wrong. Obviously, he is a very talented individual. But I can understand the problems somebody has in going from a chief executive officer of a big company like that to a number two position.


"After all, if somebody came along and took away my opportunity to be the lead person in interfacing with Wall Street, to be the one responsible for mergers and acquisitions, to be the interface with the board of directors, well, that's taking away a big piece of everything that you've trained for.


"All that was defined up front. YOu can't have two people doing the same work. And as part of the acquisition, it was defined that I would do all those things. Nonetheless, it left him all of a sudden without things he was used to doing."


If anything triggered the resignation, it apparently was a dispute over Playskool. It was Shea - not Hassenfeld - who first wanted to close the Playskool plant in Chicago. Shea had made this known last spring around the time plans for the merger were being announced. But Hassenfeld wanted the plant to remain open, at least until after the merger, to see if it could be saved.


Hassenfeld acknowledges that this was a source of "some discomfort" between the two men "because it was probably the first time in many, many years that he had really had to ask somebody."


There is an irony in the Playskool episode because, as it turned out, Hassenfeld changed his mind and agreed with Shea. He cites two factors entering into the decision to close the plant; Poor construction of one part of the plant and the plant's location in an area that potential employees were reluctant to enter.


The merger has meant trimming the executive staff from Milton Bradley, but the only other resignation was that of George Volanakis, president of Playskool, Hassenfeld said.


Playskool manufacturing will be shifter in a few months to a plant of Milton Bradley's in East Longmeadow, Mass. Playskool marketing, engineering, research and development will move to Pawtucket.


If the merger has hit a pothole or two, no one on Wall Street seems to be noticing.


"There can be little doubt that the acquisition of Milton Bradley has created the most profitable entrant in the toy industry - one that is running neck and neck for sales leadership," said stock analyst David S. Leibowitz, senior vice president of American Securities Corp. of New York City.


A key to the merger, he believes, is that the two complement each other. Milton Bradley's strength is in puzzles and board games, an area where Hasbro is relatively weak; Milton Bradley is a major player in Europe; foreign sales haven't been a major activity for Hasbro.


This could mean even greater earnings for a company who net income has already soared, in Liebowitz's view.


"Customers have been making commitments for spring, summer and autumn 1985 deliveries since September, and the new line has been very well received," he explained. That means, he said, that "1985 could be another pacesetter."


But Hasbro has strengths in popular basic toys that could fill any toy box; Mr. Potato Head, Lite Brite, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Peanuts and Sesame Street characters are among them.


Found on Top 10 toy characters for 1984 are not only the popular G.I.Joe series but My Little Pony, a miniature pony in pastel colors with long silky mane and tail for combing and braiding, and Glow-Bug, a stuffed bug that lights up.


Casting an unusually cheery glow on Hasbro's receivables are Transformers, a new entry of miniature robots that can be twisted and turned into toy cars, planes - even toy cassette recorders.


Paul Rothman, analyst and vice president of research at the Advest Inc. securities firm in Hartford, sees a possibility for crossbreeding between the strongest lines of the two companies.


"You could take some of the hot things in the Hasbro line and turn them into games and puzzles," for Milton Bradley, Rothman said. "For example, if Mr. Potato Head is so popular, why not a Mr. Potato Head game?"


The acclaim is coming fast these days, but last spring when the proposed merger was announced there was suspicion that Hasbro was paying - at $360 million in cash and stock - too much for Milton Bradley.


Milton Bradley's 1983 sales were off 2.5 percent from the previous year, operating earnings were down 44 percent, and the company had taken a $30 million write off on its consumer electronics subsidiary. The bottom line was a 1983 net loss of $19 million.


The Hasbro offer was "an early Christmas for Milton Bradley shareholders," Leibowitz said at the time.


Harry E. Wells 3rd, research director at the Adams, Harkness & Hill securities firm in Boston, observed that Hasbro's offer of $50 a share was 2.2 times Milton Bradley's book value of $21 - $22 a share.


"A generous evaluation, to say the least," Wells commented then.


Today, Wells is unabashed in his enthusiasm for the merger, crediting Hassenfeld for having the "cash, stock and imagination" to go through with it.


Wells doesn't consider Shea's resignation very interesting. This merger, he said, "has probably gone smoother than anyone would have dreamed."


Other sources agree that the Shea resignation was inevitable. Besides being accustomed to being the top man, he had "a potful of money," as one analyst phrased it, from his sale of Milton Bradley stock to Hasbro.


"In his place, what would you have done? It was preordained that he would quit," commented another observer.


Noted Stephen Smith, the magazine editor, "People who fit in with the new management structure stayed; those who couldn't left. Hasbro definitely calls the tune, and anyone who can't fit in with their management style would decide to leave."


He believes the future of the merged entity can be predicted from the past successes of each. "That means good traditional toys - not electronics. Everything else works off of that; licensing their toys to other toy manufacturers; basing television stories on their toy characters.


"It's like a pitcher with a fast ball," Smith added. "If you have a fast ball, then you can go to a curve, a slider, a change of pace. They have the fast ball and it's the basic toy business."


Editor's Note: This newspaper article was obtained through Linden High School's micro-fiche film library during my senior year in 1995. Linden High School is located in Linden, Mi. See ... it pays to save all that stuff!!!


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