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Toy Biz (later renamed Charan Toys and then Marvel Toys) was a division of Marvel Entertainment. Toy Biz created the toy line for Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

History

Canadian company

Toy Biz's original forerunner was a Canadian company, Chantex, Inc., started in the late 1800's. Started by the Zuckerman family, the grandson, Sol Zuckerman, grew the business in 1961 from $1.6 million in sales of $4.5 million in 1980. Zuckerman became a merger and acqisition executive during the 1980's. In 1980, Chantex merged with Earl Takefman's Randim Marketing, Inc., a school supply manufacturer and wholesaler to become Charan Industries Inc. In 1984, Charan went public with annual revenues at $20 million. It's Charan Toy, Inc. subsidiary became a leading licensing toy company in 1985 with nine top ten toys Canadian rights including Cabbage Patch Kids. Charan used a very broad approach to implementing it's brands across all lines. Charan acquired Cooper hockey equipment brand in the Mid-1980's. Charan took this brand and used in within Charan's children's wear division. This approach would move onto the operations of ToyBiz and a key to it's success.

American company

In the late 1980's, Charan Industries sold the toy subsidiary as Zuckerman did not see the value of the strategies. Becoming an American-owned company, Charan Toys was renamed Toy Biz. In 1990, the company was purchased by Isaac Perlmutter, who became chairman with Joseph Ahern brought in as chief officers. Ahern was focused on cost control and the bottom-line by leasing a headquarters in New York City and a warehouse in Arizona and outsourced China manufacturing. In 1993, Toy Biz made an unusual move by getting an "exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free license" to Marvel characters for 46 percent of Toy Biz equity. Avi Arad joined Toy Biz that same year for salary and a 10% stake in the corporation. He also ended up heading Marvel Films Animation. Toy Biz, Inc. reorganized with Perlmutter continue owning the original Toy Biz, Inc., which is renamed Zib, Inc. Zib held it's foreign sales affiliate, Toy Biz International Ltd., a Hong Kong corporation and Perlmutter's share of the new Toy Biz, Inc.

With all the cost controls, special licensing agreement and good talent, Toy Biz in 1995 had 24% profit margins which was better than Mattel's margin. The deal with Marvel opened up other segments of the MacAndrews & Forbes conglomerate owned by Ronald O. Perelman. Perelman, himself, assumed Toy Biz's chairman of the board position in 1995. The company thus made Revlon fashion dolls and Coleman toy camping equipment for instance. Toy Biz licensing outside brands, including Hercules: The Legendary Journey and Xena: Warrior Princess action figures based on the Action Pack television show on many New World television stations. Also, agreements with Gerber and NASCAR were acquired. These commanded greater sale prices than most other trademarks. In 1995, Toy Biz acquired Spectra Star, Inc. and Quest Aerospace Education, Inc., both toy companies. Spectra made kites and yo-yos. Small model rockets were made by Quest.

Toy Biz started up it's Classic Heroes candy division in early 1996. Classic Heroes would sell candy/toy combinations using mainly Marvel characters. The comany also entered the electronic learning aids segment of the toy industry in 1996 with a licensing agreement with Apple Computer. Perelman started to make a bid for full control of the corporation in 1996 following Marvel's financial difficulties. In August 1996, Marvel decided to create Marvel Studios, an incorporation of Marvel Films, due to the sale of New World Communications Group, Inc., Marvel's fellow Andrews Group subsidiary in film and television stations, to News Corporation/Fox. Filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise funds to finance the new corporation, Marvel, Isaac Perlmutter's Zib, Inc. and Avi Arad sold Toy Biz stocks, which Marvel had started and took public in February 1995. Perelman attempted to save the company by offering to have the Andrews Group to purchasing additional shares issue for $350 million in November 1996 (Andrews Plan). Meanwhile, Carl Icahm started buy Marvel's bonds at 20% of their value and moved to black Perelman's plan. As part of the Andrews plan, the Marvel companies filed for bankruptcy on December 27, 1996. The noteholders led by Icahn blocked this plan.

Icahn fought to take control of the company from Perelman. Icahn took control of Marvel as it's chairman on June 20, 1997. Bankruptcy proceedings continued with multi-way arguments between Perelman, Icahn, Toy Biz and the banks. Both men failed as Toy Biz owners Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad snatched Marvel from Perelman and Icahn in order to protect their own financial interests as the banks sided with them. Estimates of Perelman's profit on the deal vary widely. Chuck Rozanski estimates that Perelman made $200 - 400 million off Marvel; Forbes thinks he made nothing; and the judge in the Marvel bankruptcy trial estimates he made $280 million plus various tax advantages. Icahn was ousted by the bankruptcy judge as Marvel's chairman in December 1997 naming a trustee to run Marvel while discussion continued between the various factions. Toy Biz and Marvel were merged into Marvel Enterprises to bring it out of bankruptcy in June 1998 with Toy Biz becoming a division of the new company.

Decline

In January 2007, Hasbro acquired the exclusive right to be the official toy manufacturer of registered Marvel Entertainment characters. Marvel Entertainment's decision meant that Marvel Toys would no longer be able to produce any Marvel figures as it would violate the Marvel Entertainment/Hasbro deal. In 2007, Marvel Toys still made toys of non-Marvel trademarked brands such as TNA Wrestling, Legendary Comic Book Heroes and Curious George. It should be noted that Legendary Comic Heroes were not selling very well and subsequently at the 2008 Toy Fair convention the figures were announced as being canveled. In January 2008, TNA Wrestling signed with Jakks Pacific due to the fall off Marvel Toys. In April 2008, the Marvel Toys website went down, hence officially showing the end of Marvel Toys.

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