Monday, January 2, 2012
4057. Little Tikes Lion
Little Tikes is an American-based manufacturer of children's toys, with headquarters and manufacturing located in Hudson, Ohio. The company also has other manufacturing and distribution facilities in Asia and Europe. Little Tikes' products are mostly low-tech molded plastic toys aimed primarily at infants and young children, for indoor and outdoor use, including its party kitchen and turtle sandbox.
The company was established by Thomas G. Murdough Jr. in 1969 in Aurora, Ohio. The company was acquired by Rubbermaid in 1984. Murdough signed an employment agreement with Rubbermaid under which he would stay with the new parent company for a five-year period as president and general manager. In May 1989, Murdough announced that he would be leaving Little Tikes at the end of that year to pursue other interests. In 1991, Murdough established a new toy business called Step 2, now based in Streetsboro, Ohio, aimed at competing with and outselling Little Tikes. In 1999, Rubbermaid merged with Newell to form Newell Rubbermaid.
The company was acquired by MGA Entertainment in September 2006 from Newell Rubbermaid for an undisclosed sum. As of 2006, the 500 employees at Little Tikes were generating approximately $250 million in revenue of Rubbermaid's $6.3 billion in annual sales, and the acquisition was projected to add $15 to $25 million to MGA Entertainment's bottom line. The purchase was said to allow a better fit with MGA Entertainment, a manufacturer of children's toys and entertainment products founded in 1997 whose products included the Bratz line of fashion dolls.
The firm's red and yellow Cozy Coupe toy car reached 6 million units in sales by its 25th anniversary in 2004,and was called the "world's best-selling car for much of this decade" by The New York Times in 1998, outselling the Honda Accord and Ford Taurus.
While the company had traditionally focused on durable plastic toys that allow children to use their imagination while at play, by 2004 it had introduced its Magicook Kitchen, which uses radio frequency devices to allow components to communicate with each other, such as having the stove respond when it recognizes that a piece of food is placed on it.