Funtastic to buy Hobby Warehouse Group including Toys"R"Us

In a major scoop for the toy and baby industry, Funtastic is acquiring Hobby Warehouse Group (HWG), which owns one of Australia’s leading baby, toy and hobby ecommerce platforms with over 1 million subscribers and a revenue of $28.6 million.

The takeover includes ecommerce websites Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us, which HWG relaunched in June 2019 after signing an exclusive licensing agreement with US-based parent company, Tru Kids. This will now be extended to 2041.

Louis Mittoni, HWG’s founder and CEO, will become CEO and managing director of the combined group.

“With the support of Tru Kids and our suppliers within the toy and baby industry, we have been able to build one of the fastest growing online retailers in ANZ,” says Mittoni.

“This is the next phase of the Toys“R”Us relaunch. We will continue to build new physical and digital logistics and shopper facing infrastructure to scale profitably. Our wholesale businesses, Mittoni Technology and Funtastic, will continue to focus on and support all retailers with a wide range of some of the best-known branded technology, toys and baby products.”

The acquisition will expand Funtastic’s online reach significantly, while its wholesale division is expected to benefit from a significantly wider range of family oriented lifestyle products that complement Funtastic’s current main brands (Razor scooters, Chill Factor, Moochies and Floaties).

Chairman of the Funtastic board, Bernie Brookes, who will be stepping down following the successful completion of the takeover, says it has been a challenging few years for the company.

“However, we have finally found the right vehicle to allow our brands and shareholders to accelerate growth within the fast growing online retailing space with two of the world’s most trusted children’s retail brands, Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us, which are complementary to our existing brands,” he says.

“The wider range of baby, toy and hobby products that will be distributed via the Funtastic distribution arm will allow us to develop more innovative digital and sourcing strategies to support both our physical and online retail customers in Australia.”

Plans for 2021 include the launch of a bricks and mortar location in Melbourne.

“Funtastic will, with the research and support of Tru Kids and its innovative ‘experiential’ store formats in Houston and New Jersey, commence our own physical high experience store attached to our new logistics centre near Melbourne during 2021. Together we will build a formidable company with strong foundations over the next several years,” adds Mittoni.