Argos Wityu, an independent European investment fund, has agreed to sell Juratoys, a designer and distributor of toys and games (Janod, Kaloo and Liliputiens brands) to the family-owned Maped group, a leader in school, writing, colouring and office supplies.
Argos Wityu orchestrated the spin-off and carve-out of the 50-year-old French group Juratoys in 2018. Leader in the educational and wooden toys segment, with strong, well-known brands, Juratoys has achieved rapid growth in its business. The company has nearly 170 employees, who generate annual turnover of more than €80m, vs a little more than €50m in 2018. The company’s growth and development has been articulated around several important principles embedded in its strategy:
- Strengthened product design and development oriented towards early childhood learning;
- Permanent commitment to an environmental policy to foster progress and preserve the world in which the next generation will come of age;
- Rapid international expansion, which has increased the portion of sales outside France to almost half the total;
- Digitalisation of the company’s activities in marketing and in the company’s relationships with its distributors and end-customers;
- Acquisitions, such as the merger with the Belgian company Lilliputiens in 2020.
Through its concerted environmental efforts, Juratoys has:
- Reduced its consumption of plastic by 5.3 tonnes p.a. by eliminating packaging;
- Organised the planting of 4,500 trees every year, including 1,500 in France, with Kinomé, a reforestation initiative, and ONF, the French national forestry office, in an effort to be both educational and inclusive;
- Focused on using FSC wood and cardboard as well as packing materials derived from recycled plastic bottles.
Read about all of the group’s ESG commitments here: www.jouez-engage.fr
The merger of Juratoys and Maped is right in line with the two companies’ mission to support children as they grow and define themselves at every stage in their lives.
The merger will enable the two companies to benefit from their numerous complementary features, combining academic and pleasurable learning. Maped’s international distribution network as well as its industrial expertise will boost growth at Juratoys.
Ludovic Martin, Chairman and CEO of Juratoys, said, “The years we have spent alongside Argos have been fruitful and enriching. We have the feeling Argos has always listened to us and supported us. We have been able to take advantage of Argos’s expertise and that of its other companies. We carried out several strategic projects such as digitalising the company and developing our international sales. We grew significantly and intelligently with the acquisition of Lilliputiens in 2020. Together we made strong ESG commitments on all fronts. A new chapter in the life of Juratoys is now opening, as it joins a leading company in a related and very complementary market to that of toys and games. Our geographical and cultural proximity will be an advantage for our development. Together we will continue to create opportunities for children and their parents to experience and share happy moments, both in France and abroad.”
Romain Lacroix, Chairman and CEO of Maped, added, “Acquiring Juratoys and its longstanding brands Janod, Kaloo and Lilliputiens gives Maped’s diversification strategy the boost it needs to pursue the new group’s targets. We are pleased to take part in building a large French group that aims to distribute school supplies and educational, sustainable and fun toys and games to accompany children throughout the world in every aspect of their learning.”
Gilles Lorang, Managing Partner Argos Wityu concluded, “The management of Juratoys has done a remarkable job managing both rapid organic growth and the integration of Lilliputiens, while continuing to carry out ground-breaking, strategic and transformative ESG initiatives. We are confident that the merger with Maped will enable Juratoys to continue its expansion. We would like to thank the management team for their pleasant and efficient collaboration, and we wish them all the best in the years to come.”
Argos Wityu team: Gilles Lorang, Mario Giannattasio, Pierre Cassignol
Seller’s financial advisers: Clearwater international (Philippe Guezenec, Marie Cassola, Valentine Mevel, Matthias Krimmel)
Seller’s legal advisers: McDermott Will & Emery (Bertrand Delafaye, Herschel Guez, Alexandre Adande)
Seller’s financial due diligence: KPMG (Olivier Boumendil, Benoit Luscan, Adrien Bes)
Buyer’s financial advisers: Natixis Partners (Jean-Noel Combasson, Driss Mernissi)
Seller’s tax advisers: Arsene Taxand (Franck Chaminade, Valentine Roulin)
Buyer’s legal advisers: Delsol Avocats (Emmanuel Kaeppelin, Caroline Da Lage, Raphaël Ory)
Management advisers: Facchin Avocats (Cyril Facchin)
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About Argos Wityu / www.argos.wityu.fund
One firm, two strategies.
Argos Wityu is an independent European private equity group that supports the growth of mid-sized businesses and backs their management teams.
With more than €1.4bn assets under management, over 30 years of experience and more than 90 businesses assisted, Argos Wityu operates from offices in Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Luxembourg, Milan and Paris. The group seeks to acquire majority stakes and invests between €10m and €100m in each investment of its two strategies:
• The Midmarket fund helps companies implement ownership transitions to accelerate growth
• The Climate Action fund aims at shaping European sustainable leaders by making their “Grey to Green” transition
About Juratoys / janod.com / kaloo.com / lilliputiens.be
Juratoys has been designing and distributing toys and games for 50 years. Its Janod and Kaloo brands, acquired in 2011, and Lilliputiens, acquired in 2020, are recognised for their design, the quality of their materials and their educational values, which contribute to early childhood development and learning. The company is also the exclusive distributor in France and Belgium of certain international toy brands, such as Ty. Juratoys manages more than 1,400 products under its three proprietary brands and places great emphasis on innovation, designing more than 350 new products every year. The company has 170 employees and generates annual turnover of more than €80 million. The company is present in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and China.