April 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

All Aboard Toys and Ty’s Toy Box become playmates

There will soon be a bigger toy e-retailer on the playground. Ty’s Toy Box and All Aboard Toys are merging to create what they say will be the largest online toy store specializing in merchandise tied to popular cartoon characters.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

There will soon be a bigger toy e-retailer on the playground. Ty’s Toy Box and All Aboard Toys are merging to create what they say will be the largest online toy store specializing in merchandise tied to popular cartoon characters.

Ty Simpson, CEO of Ty`s Toy Box, will be CEO of a newly formed holding company that will control both entities, while Dave Carlson, CEO of All Aboard Toys, will be chairman. The companies will continue to operate separately each of their web sites-AllAboardToys.com and TysToyBox.com.

Carlson says All Aboard brings size and vendor relationships to the table. Ty’s, he says, has more licensing agreements with such media companies as Nickelodeon, Universal and HIT Entertainment that own rights to popular kid characters like Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank Engine. .

“They have lots of contracts we don’t have and volume-wise we offer more SKUs,” Carlson says. He would not say how many SKUs All Aboard offer. Neither company reports its revenue publicly.

The merger will enable the two retail sites to sell more than 10,000 unique products, including character-themed toys, apparel, school supplies, home décor, DVDs, costumes, party supplies and video games. The combined entity will work with more than 400 suppliers, 25 licensing companies and will have about 80 full-time employees. Carlson says there are no plans for staff reductions.

“With approximately $26 billion spent annually on character-licensed products and the Internet being the fastest-growing source of this revenue, combining our efforts will be advantageous to our licensing industry partners and provide our customers with an unprecedented assortment of character-related products, including exclusives they can`t find anywhere else," Simpson says.

Financial details were not disclosed. The merger is backed by venture capital firm eonCapital.

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