In 1977, Kidco toys was formed to market Universal Toys in the United States and was merged with Matchbox in the early 1980s. In 1978, Universal bought eighty present of LJN Toys of New York. When Matchbox was bought by Universal, the entire Kidco and LJN line were marketed under the Matchbox brand in Europe. In 1980, the Universal group bought space in Macau for a company called “Macau Toys Ltd” and in 1981 “Macau Die-casting Toys Ltd.” was formed.
Within three months of Lesney takeover, much of the tooling for Matchbox Toys began moving to Macau, with the first Macau-made Matchbox being seen on the market in May 1983. It decide trough, to retain production of Yesteryear models in Rochford, England, but by 1987 they too, had moved to Macau.
In 1986, Matchbox Toys began negotiations with Kenner-Parker to buy the Dinky trademark. By 1987, the deal was consummated. To protect the Dinky trademark, six miniatures were produced in special version and packaged in Dinky blisterpacks. In 1989, the first Dinky prototypes were shown at United Kingdom toy fairs.
Matchbox Toys was not just a die cast company. Many “unusual” products started appearing with the Matchbox brand throughout the 1980s. Dolls continued to be manufactured alongside stuffed plush animals. In 1988, Matchbox had a licensing winner with their Pee Wee Herman line in the United States. In 1989, Matchbox hit upon their most controversial offering – a Feddy Krueger talking doll. Freddy war the star of Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Due to requests from parental and religious groups, Freddy soon disappeared from the shelves. As the 1990s hit, Matchbox was taking a downturn. Possibly, they expanded into too many different toy product. By early 1992, David Yeh began shopping for a buyout deal and, in May 1992, Tyco Toys announced their intention to buy the Universal Group. After several months of negotiation, it was official – on Octuber2, 1992, Tyco Tyco owned Matchbox Toys.
Tyco Toys’ History
While the late 1980s were turbulent for most United State - based toy companies, Tyco Toys, Inc. of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, utilized a successful diversification program to enjoy eight consecutive years of record sales. Tyco’s growth enabled the company to vault into position as the Unitred State third - largest toy company, with sales of $769 million in 1992.
Tyco’s strong performance in recent year can be traced to a concerted effort under the leadership of Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer Richard E. Grey to expand beyond the firm’s traditional electric trains and racing categories via new product introductions and timely acquisitions. The company, today known around the world for products ranging from dolls and radio-control cars to real working telephones and Matchbox die-cast cars, is far different from the company founded in 1926 by John Tyler. Mr. Tyler who initially called his firm the Tyler Company before it became TyCo and finally Tyco, manufactured parts for toy trains before deciding to market toy train kits in the 1930s.