Model maker company Hornby is set to breathe new life in the die-cast model market after buying Corgi International yesterday for $15 million (£7.5 million).
The Times reports that that Hornby intends to revive the company well known for it’s 40+ year-long association with the James Bond series.
Frank Martin, chief executive of Hornby, said: ‘It is a fanastic brand and has a superb reputation worldwide. We intend to build its premier position in the market. The strategic fit with our existing business could not be better.’
Corgi’s owners put the business up for sale after struggles with paying suppliers and introducing new products. Hornby will be paying the US-based Corgi £7.5 million for the brand, tooling and intellectual property rights to Corgi Classics. An additional £800,000 for all existing stock.
The company is perhaps best known to 007 collectors for their phenomenally popular Aston Martin DB5 model–first launched in 1965. A prototype model sold for $2,100 at an auction this past October.
Hornby’s Martin stated that his priority was ‘satisfying the pent-up demand in the UK for Corgi classics’, but also intends to generate more exports to the US and continental Europe. Corgi’s sales have fallen to £6.5 million a year from as high as £18million in the late 1990s.
‘The core business of Corgi is the adult collector but one of the opportunities we have is to broaden the market by taking the brand to a younger audience,’ he said.
‘There is definitely still a place for these brands. I still don’t think that there is any substitute for the physical act of collecting these models, holding them and putting them in a display case.’
Lindsey Amrani, editor of Model Collector magazine, said: ‘Everyone will be relieved–there’s been a lot of speculation about the fate of Corgi and no models have been released this year. Hornby recently declared record profits and they have taken Airfix on and turned it around, so I think it will be a very good thing indeed.’
Most recently, Corgi showed off their Quantum of Solace/Casino Royale Bond figures and gadgets at the 2008 UK ToyFair. Hornby also recently confirmed a Quantum of Solace Scalextric racing set due for release later this year.
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