Toy Biz, Inc. (Specimen)

Toy Biz, Inc. (Specimen)
Item# 4286toybiz

Toy Biz was originally incorporated by a Canadian public company, Charan Industries Inc. which was run by Sol Zuckerman and Earl Takefman. Charan was a Canadian based toy company that operated significantly as a U.S. distributor of toys to Canadian retailers. When the first ‘super heroes’ movie, Superman by DC Comics, proved to be a failure for toy manufacturers, non of the large tier-1 toy companies were interested in the next super-hero movie, Batman, which was to feature Jack Nicholson, as The Joker.

Licensing Corporation of America, the licensor for the movie and a subsidiary of Time Warner, was forced to look to smaller toy companies to license Batman. Only Charan Industries was interested as a licensee and it used this license to incorporate a U.S. subsidiary, Toy Biz to sell the Batman products to the U.S. market. As a defensive measure, in order to insure no other companies were offering any ‘super hero’ merchandise of any kind, Toy Biz also signed a licensing agreement with Marvel Comics to license all of its characters. Marvel had no movies pending at that time.

Charan Industries later ran into financial difficulty as a result of the bankruptcy of several of the U.S. companies it was representing, including Worlds of Wonder, the makers of Teddy Ruxpin, despite the eventual huge success of the Batman license and was forced to sell the company to Ike Permullter and Avi Arad. Arad and Perlmutter believed rightly that their business relied heavily on the success of Marvel. So, during an expensive battle between business financier Ronald O. Perelman and corporate raider Carl Icahn over the rights to Marvel, Arad and Perlmutter seized the opportunity of a lifetime.

Perlmutter, a businessman who made his money in discount or "dollar-store" merchandising, and who bought collapsed companies like Remington, found himself owning the near collapsed Toy Biz—a toymaker with the license to make Marvel Comics character action figures. Arad was a toy designer who made millions in royalties on his creations. Instead of entering a complicated arrangement, they just went into Marvel together.

Toward the end of 1980s, Perelman, coming off his successful takeover of the cosmetics firm Revlon, bought Marvel Entertainment. He issued more comic books and also acquired trading cards and a few other subsidiaries. Wall Street was seemingly supportive; after Perelman took the company public, Marvel's market value topped $3 billion.

Perelman then began selling junk bonds with Marvel’s inflated value and Marvel's debt exceeded $600 million. The unfortunate downfall of the comic and trading-card markets left Marvel’s assets wide open to takeover.

Icahn, who had invested heavily into Marvel's bonds as one of his standard take-over methods, now went to work to take the company. Perlmutter and Arad, dependent on Marvel’s comic characters, realized that Toy Biz’s fate was at risk. The prospect of losing their interest caused them to become passionate about purchasing Marvel. Perlmutter arranged his own financing group, and ultimately bid over $400 million for Marvel.

Icahn and Perelman fought it out, while Arad and Perlmutter managed to beat them both. Later, the rights to names like Spider-Man were being challenged. Toy Biz hired an attorney to review their license agreement. A Los Angeles based patent attorney named Carole E. Handler found a legal loophole in the patent and licensing of the Marvel name and was successful in reclaiming Marvel Enterprises' movie rights to its character Spider-Man.

Although Toy Biz announced it would no longer produce Marvel's toys, they continued producing TNA action figures and Curious George toys while working on acquiring new licenses. In 2007, the company was renamed 'Marvel Toys', although the Marvel movie franchises and Legends lines went to Hasbro.

Close Up of Vignette

Certificate: Common Stock, specimen, late 1900’s

Printer: American Bank Note Company

Dimensions: 8” (h) x 12” (w)

State: DE-Delaware

Subject Matter: Consumer Products | Children’s Games | Specimen Pieces

Vignette Topic(s): Allegorical Featured | Allegorical Mercury | Cherub Subject | Globe Featured

Condition: No fold lines, punch hole cancels in the signature areas and body, very crisp.

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