UPDATE: None of the Prospero Hall game developers or designers have currently been offered positions at Goliath, BoardGameWire understands. More details when we get them.
Goliath, the veteran game company behind Rummikub and other child and family-weight games, has bought Funko’s board game and puzzles assets, including those of its tabletop game design team Prospero Hall.
The deal follows poor financial results from Funko last year, with the pop culture and collectibles business announcing in August that it planned to begin cost-savings following three consecutive quarters of losses.
Funko’s “other brands” unit, which includes its board games operations, was the only part of the company to record growth during its Q2 earnings presentation five months ago.
Prospero Hall, a Seattle-based game design collective, has put out some well received designs in recent years, including Disney Villainous in 2018, Horrified in 2019 and Pan Am in 2020, as well as pop culture tie-in games including Jaws and Rear Window.
Goliath’s deal also includes assets from Funko’s board game development studio, which was known as Forrest-Pruzan Creative when Funko bought the company in 2019 as part of a push into board games.
Forrest-Pruzan has been involved in designing games including Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, Ramen Fury and Jurassic Park: Danger!
Netherlands-headquartered Goliath, which was founded in 1980, has owned the 50 million-selling Rummikub since 2014 when it picked up veteran US games maker Pressman Toy Corporation.
It specialises in toys and games for families and young children, including classics like Backgammon and Checkers to more modern design such as Fire Tower.
Funko was a notable absence from last year’s Essen Spiel board game fair in October, an early indicator that a potential carving out of the board games unit was on the cards.
As well as taking control of Funko’s board game assets, Goliath has also agreed an multi-year agreement to become the exclusive worldwide distributor of Funko’s current catalogue of games and puzzles, and has agreed to collaborate with Funko to develop and distribute new products in those segments.
The agreement includes an initial payment from Goliath, followed by future minimum guaranteed royalty payments for the use of the Funko brand.
Funko interim CEO Mike Lunsford said, “The transaction is designed to keep with our previously stated goal of streamlining our business by focusing on our core assets.
“We intend to use the proceeds from this transaction to reduce our debt. We believe that Goliath’s size and scale, as well as their intimate knowledge of the global games and toys market, make them a strong partner for Funko in the board game category.”
Goliath CEO Jochanan Golad added, “Funko Games is a highly regarded brand that includes hundreds of board games recently created as well as a great portfolio from Forrest-Pruzan.
“We look forward to bringing the Funko brand and style to the game aisle in new and innovative ways. With Pressman’s 101 years and Goliath’s 43 years of selling games, we believe we’re a perfect fit to partner with Funko to develop and distribute games on a global level.
“We plan to commence marketing several key games around the world immediately. We’re especially thrilled about our plan to bring to market a new and exciting game called Bitty Pop! Chase, which includes Funko’s popular Bitty Pop! miniature collectible characters.”
Goliath said it plans to showcase many of the Funko board games at the upcoming 2024 toy fairs in London and Nuremberg at the end of January.