3i buys into The Character Group

3i, Europe’s largest quoted private equity investor, has paid an undisclosed sum to acquire a 24% stake in AIM-listed toy company The Character Group.

3i, a global buyout firm, has acquired a 24 percent share in The Character Group, an AIM-listed toy company, for an undisclosed sum.
 
3i acquired 11.52 million shares, representing approximately 24.1 percent of the current issued share capital, from Italian toy company Giochi Preziosi, which acquired its stake in 2000.
 
The Character Group said in a regulatory statement that it intends to invite a senior 3i executive to join its board as a non-executive director.
 
Formed in 1991, The Character Group designs, develops and distributes toys, games and gifts in 30 countries. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1995 before moving to AIM at the end of 2005.
 
The company designs approximately 50 percent of its products in-house under the group’s own brand or under license with the remainder from third party distribution. Product lines include Dr Who, Scooby Doo, Biker Mice from Mars, Roboraptor and Robopet.
 
In February, 3i carried out a £111 million (€162 million) take-private of Chorion, a media group owning the rights to children’s cartoon characters Noddy and Mr Men, as well as the Agatha Christie and Philip Marlow crime brands.
 
Despite speculation regarding perceived synergies between the two businesses, 3i said today that it has no plans to merge The Character Group and Chorion.