If you’ve had a passing interaction with a small child recently, chances are you’re aware of PAW Patrol, the animated series about heroic dogs. In fact, the show’s second movie hit theatres this month and had the largest box office opening for a Canadian film in a decade.
And now, the company behind it just made a move to get even bigger.
What happened: Toronto-based toy giant Spin Master agreed to buy US toymaker Melissa & Doug for a cool US$950 million. Melissa & Doug specializes in toys for preschoolers and wooden jigsaw puzzles, diversifying Spin Master’s already vast portfolio of toys and games.
- This comes mere days after the company inked a deal with distribution partner Paramount for a new animated series based on the Dora the Explorer franchise.
Catch-up: Spin Master has been the purveyor of must-have toys for nearly thirty years now, starting with its first hit, Earth Buddy (a strange cross between a Chia Pet and a pantyhose) and later expanding into a range of homegrown talents, like Air Hogs and Hatchimals.
In the late 2000s, Spin Master began pursuing growth through acquisitions, bringing in iconic brands like Rubik’s Cube, Etch A Sketch, and Gund stuffed animals.
But things really took off in 2013 when its entertainment wing introduced PAW Patrol.
Thanks to these heroic pups, Spinmaster has a market cap of $3.5 billion — larger than other notable Canadian companies like Canada Goose and Telus. Since launching its IPO in 2015, it has seen its shares nearly double and rebound from a stark pandemic-era drop.
Bottom line: PAW Patrol is, no joke, maybe one of Canada’s most valuable exports. In 2020, exports of creative goods were valued at $19.4 billion (over a third of the total value of the creative industry), with Paw Patrol a leading light, broadcast in over 170 countries.—QH