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Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

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  • Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

    Build-A-Bear Workshop recently announced that they've retained investment bank Lehman Brothers to explore "a broad range of potential strategic alternatives to enhance long-term shareholder value" (read: merger or sale).

    This announcement has one Wall Street analyst speculating that Disney could be a prime candidate to take over the struggling retailer (same store sales are down 7-9% from last year) and infuse some new life with their army of classic characters.

    Disney has a history of partnerships with Build-A-Bear, both on the licensing and promotional fronts. Do you think it would be a smart move for them to acquire Build-A-Bear outright, or should they heed the lessons of The Disney Store and stick to licensing?
    Last edited by disneytim; 06-28-2007, 12:13 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

    Buy it. Build-a-bear is insanely popular. Plus with Disney's deep catalog of plush characters, and the opportunities to customize your characters or sell 'niche' plush? They'd make a fortune. They are already trying it small scale with 'Build-a-pirate-hat' and 'build-a-pirate--skull' in the parks along with the 'Tote-a-tail' where buy a little plush and add accessories. So they are thinking of going this direction anyways. Why not make it easier and take over the Build-a-Bear infrastructure?
    "If we cut the budget are you going to be the one standing at the exit explaining to guests why the ride they just rode is a piece of crap?" - - John Lasseter

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    • #3
      Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

      If Build-a-Bear were able to retain it's identity and it didn't become Build-a-'Disney'-Bear at it's existing locations, then IMHO Disney would be a good candidate. They could certainly infuse a lot of the Disney magic into it and use the existing concept to their own ends by adding more of their own unique characters to the mix (but not completely replacing what is already there).
      They could open Build-a-Bear or Build-a-Disney-Character Plush satellite shops in the Parks or at The World of Disney stores that would undoubtedly be extremely popular. On a smaller scale, they seem to have done alright with Mr Potato head so I guess then if handled properly, Disney could indeed pull it off.

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      • #4
        Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

        You know, I believe Build-a-Bear to be a flawed business concept...

        I always have felt that way... I always will...
        Check out my other blog:

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        • #5
          Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

          No way. This is one trend that's on its way out. Don't buy a sinking ship Disney!
          Good morning, son
          In twenty years from now
          Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
          And I can tell you 'bout today
          And how I picked you up and everything changed
          It was pain
          Sunny days and rain
          I knew you'd feel the same things...


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          • #6
            Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

            Originally posted by cellarhound View Post
            You know, I believe Build-a-Bear to be a flawed business concept...

            I always have felt that way... I always will...
            in what way exactly?

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            • #7
              Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

              Originally posted by tjcjr View Post
              in what way exactly?
              The business model is too limited to a nitch retail store concept...

              1. Profit Margin will be limited unless you own into manufacturing.

              2. Revinue will be limited unless you can find a way become a vendor in discount department venue.

              3. Licensing is a problem too - what kind of trademark image is being developed that can be sold in a mixed media format? Not much, they are more likely a reseller of other companies' liscenses.

              The driving mechanism of the business is custom specialization... The more you specialize generally the lower the profitablity.

              Toys-R-Us is getting hammered by discount department stores... Which is why they had to alter their business strategy to develope Babies-R-Us. In fact many toy retailers are getting hammered and have gone out of business.
              Check out my other blog:

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              • #8
                Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

                Originally posted by cellarhound View Post
                The business model is too limited to a nitch retail store concept...

                1. Profit Margin will be limited unless you own into manufacturing.

                2. Revinue will be limited unless you can find a way become a vendor in discount department venue.

                3. Licensing is a problem too - what kind of trademark image is being developed that can be sold in a mixed media format? Not much, they are more likely a reseller of other companies' liscenses.

                The driving mechanism of the business is custom specialization... The more you specialize generally the lower the profitablity.

                Toys-R-Us is getting hammered by discount department stores... Which is why they had to alter their business strategy to develope Babies-R-Us. In fact many toy retailers are getting hammered and have gone out of business.
                interesting insight ...thanks

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                • #9
                  Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

                  Originally posted by tjcjr View Post
                  interesting insight ...thanks
                  When I think of their peer group - Chuck E. Cheeze comes to mind as a close model to the direction they are growing... (Very limited)
                  Check out my other blog:

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                  • #10
                    Re: Should Disney Buy Build-A-Bear Workshop?

                    If Disney buys it they should put it in their Disney Stores. Throw out the huge stuffing parties but make sure to have plenty of Disney characters to make your own. I'll be investing in plenty of Eeyore Build a Bears!
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