Under New Owners – again!

You just can’t go away, can you! I had just come back from a very enjoyable spell in the Netherlands on a “Bike and Barge” cruise which did a lot for my fitness (I am just about recovered!) and enabled me to get a lot more lovely crane photos from Amsterdam and Rotterdam; I’ve been working my way through all the accumulated emails and messages, and then this crops up – news that Meccano has changed hands again!

In all fairness we have had a very settled period compared with the General Mills – Airfix years, but with the radical new Evolution series coming out in a month or so one might have thought that we were on a new and steady path. But news seeped out through various abstruse channels that Meccano has been bought by Spin Master. Ever heard of them? Or of their leading names, Bakugan Battle Brawlers™, Air Hogs®, Aquadoodle™, Hedbanz™, Tech Deck™, Zoobles™ or SpyGear™? No, neither had I, but then I’m not Canadian and apparently they are big over there, the firm being described as Canada’s largest children’s toy and entertainment company. And in all fairness, I’d never heard of Rabbids, either, until Meccano started producing tie-in sets for them. (Though judging by current Amazon discounts they may not have been such a good move.) Apparently Spin Master are going to build “a more immersive toy, entertainment and gaming offering,” whatever that means.

In true corporate-speak we read that “Spin Master is strategically focused on driving immersive extensions to many of its toy lines through the creation of entertainment properties, companion applications, games and digital experiences that are suited for changing consumer play patterns.”

Michaël Ingberg, Chief Executive Officer of Meccano, seems happy, though. He said, “We are extremely happy to be part of Spin Master and are excited with the culture and track record of continuous innovation. I have the utmost respect and confidence in the Spin Master leadership team and am eager to help Spin Master position Meccano as an even stronger competitor in the construction category.”

Time will tell what this means for our favourite construction system. What we do know is that the decision was made to retain Meccano’s manufacturing base and industrial facilities located in Calais. Let’s hope it does mean capital injection and genuine innovation for the company. Set prices to rival those of the metric competitors from Eastern Europe and the Far East would be welcome, too! As always they will be faced with the usual balancing act between satisfying the adult enthusiast and inspiring the youngest modellers. We can only wish them well as, rather nervously, we watch this space!




About Philip Webb

Chairman of the International Society of Meccanomen
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