If you had a kid in the last 10 or so years, you’re probably familiar with both VTech and LeapFrog. Both of the companies make a variety of educational toys, most of which are electronic in some way. They seemed to be the two major players in that space and in direct competition with each other. No more. VTech is purchasing LeapFrog for about $72 million.
“We are delighted to have the LeapFrog brand joining VTech, bringing together two of the great names in children’s learning and entertainment,” said Allan Wong, Chairman and Group CEO of VTech in an official release. “VTech has been a pioneer in the electronic learning toy category for 35 years. The acquisition will allow us to offer the broadest portfolio of products that enhances the education and development of children across the world, while bringing them fun and joy.”
Not only does VTech get a “broader portfolio,” they will now likely dominate the space. In my experience at my local Toys ‘R Us, once you get to the electronic toys section. LeapFrog has a huge display and VTech is directly opposite with another huge display. No other company comes close to the amount of space of these two. If you look at the toys, there’s a lot of crossover. Both companies have versions of what amounts to the same toys. So, in my opinion, there won’t be a broader portfolio, there will be one player in the space.
And that’s a shame. While the two companies do offer the same toys, they have a different look and feel from each other. The official statement implies that both brands will continue to exist, but I’m skeptical. Why would a company make two versions of a toy when they can make one and not have to worry about a drop in sales?
If you’ll remember, VTech was also in the news late last year after their site was hacked. The hackers said they had personal information on more than 6 million children. VTech said only names, gender and birthdays were the information stolen about kids. However, it wouldn’t be impossible to figure out the parent account of that kid. The parent account contains much more information, including home address.
As far as LeapFrog still existing after all of this, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.