K’NEX has taken new steps to grow its business both in the UK and worldwide in a recapitalisation partnership with Cathay Capital.
The deal will see an injection of capital provided to the company as it continues its plan to become a globally recognised brand, with the next big growth anticipated to come from Asia, the US and Europe.
The strategic partnership was completed with CEO Michael Araten who boasts nearly a decade of experience in running the family business and was forged by Jerry Welch, former CEO of FAO Schwartz and John Lee of Bambini.
The transaction was also structured to assist the founding family with a successful generational transition plan. Cathay has provided capital to the business and access to its global network for distributing K’NEX in China, Europe and other parts of the world. Cathay has had significant experience in the toy and educational products industry with Cathay affiliate investments in Juratoys (France) and Kidsland (China).
“We are thrilled to be investing in K’NEX through Smart Brands, a leading children’s products company and a very creative platform with tremendous potential in North America, China and Europe,” said Andre Puong, investment director and David G Hoffman, managing partner of Cathay Capital Norht America.
“We are very supportive of Michael Araten and his outstanding team. This investment follows our philosophy of identifying seasoned entrepreneurial managers and families and helping them realise their vision on multiple continents.”