The LEGO Group acquires BrickLink.com

by admin on December 3, 2019

in Community News

The big news that was announced right before Thanksgiving is that the LEGO Group acquired BrickLink, the world’s largest online LEGO fan community and marketplace. Below is the press-release, some of my thoughts on the acquisition, and some resources where you can get additional information. So, let’s dive into this enormous historical event! 🙂

ANNOUNCEMENT BY LEGO ABOUT THE ACQUISITION

BILLUND, Denmark, November 26, 2019 –  The LEGO Group today announced it has acquired BrickLink Ltd. (bricklink.com), the world’s largest online community of adult LEGO fans from NXMH to strengthen its connection with its important adult fan base.

The BrickLink platform has more than one million members and comprises an online marketplace of more than 10,000 stores from 70 countries, a digital building software where builders can design and showcase their creations, and a vibrant online community where fans share ideas and builds.

The platform was founded in 2000 by Dan Jezek as a way to connect like-minded adult LEGO fans from around the world. It was acquired in 2013 by NXMH, which is owned by Korean entrepreneur Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim. BrickLink is headquartered in Irvine, California.

The LEGO Group CEO, Niels B. Christiansen said: “Our adult fans are extremely important to us. They are passionate, committed, and endlessly creative. We have worked closely with the community for many years and look forward to deepening our collaboration. We plan to continue to support BrickLink’s active marketplace and evolve BrickLink’s digital studio which allows our talented fans to take their creativity to the next level.”

Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, owner of NXMH, said: “It has been a privilege to lead the transformation of BrickLink during the past six years. I am grateful to the community for being so welcoming, supportive, and constructive. I am constantly amazed by everyone’s endless creativity and love for building. I am confident the platform will be in good hands with the LEGO Group. As a fan myself, I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

The LEGO Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Julia Goldin, said: “BrickLink provides the LEGO Group with a unique opportunity to connect with adult fans through new channels and exciting experiences. We’ve recently collaborated with BrickLink on a range of crowd-sourced sets to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brick. We learned a lot, and are keen to explore more ways of working together to create value. We look forward to collaborating further with our adult fans, while retaining and nurturing the independent spirit of the digital platform.”

The acquisition also includes Sohobricks which makes small batches of building elements. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Closing is expected to occur before the end of 2019.

MESSAGE FROM LEGO CEO TO BRICKLINK MEMBERS

I am super excited to share some big news with you today. The LEGO Group has reached an agreement to acquire BrickLink. We have a few things to finalize and plan to complete the acquisition before the end of the year. You can read the official announcement below.

As many of you who follow the LEGO Group may know, we don’t traditionally make acquisitions. Over the years, we’ve grown the business organically, focusing on our core and working to reach more kids with LEGO play. But BrickLink is different. It has a special connection with the AFOL community and the opportunity was too good to miss. Why?

  • You’re important to us. BrickLink is one of the largest, independent communities of LEGO enthusiasts in the world. Our adult fans are incredibly important to us and we are serious about creating more great experiences together.
  • We want to collaborate more. You are awesome fans and we’re grateful for your support. Your creativity is awe-inspiring, as the recent AFOL Designer Program showed. We are keen to do even more, and this is a great platform from which to do that.
  • We see huge potential in BrickLink and we want to be part of its future. BrickLink Stud.io offers fans a unique creative experience, while the marketplace is an important source of elements for your incredible builds. We recognize this and will continue to preserve and develop this aspect of the platform.

I want to recognize everything Jay, Marvin, Russell and the BrickLink team has done over the past six years to make BrickLink what it is today. They have taken Dan’s incredible vision to the next level while staying true to his purpose of bringing fans together. BrickLink wouldn’t exist without Dan, and we can assure you, we will keep his original mission close to our hearts. I would also like to thank Eliska Jezkova (Dan’s mom) for her support and we are pleased to announce that she will continue to be involved as a BrickLink Goodwill Ambassador.

BrickLink also wouldn’t exist without you – the loyal, dedicated, entrepreneurial, and incredibly creative members, sellers and fans. Thank you for the support you’ve shown to BrickLink. We will do our best to honor your interests and passions.

We look forward to welcoming the BrickLink team to the LEGO Group and continuing to work to make the best possible platform and experience for you. To help us do that, we want to hear your views. During the coming weeks, the team will host an AMA to help us understand more about what you want out of BrickLink. Stay tuned for details. I am excited about the future and I look forward to building the next phase for BrickLink, together.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY BRICKLINK ABOUT THE ACQUISITION

Dear BrickLink members, we are extremely excited to announce that BrickLink Limited has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to be acquired by the LEGO Group. As the LEGO Group has announced today through its official press release, the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019.

About 6 years ago when Jay took over BrickLink from Dan’s family, Jay promised to keep Dan’s legacy and continue to strive for his original mission – to help AFOL communities thrive. Our team is deeply grateful for Jay’s generous investment and our vibrant community’s enthusiastic support that helped us keep the promise. BrickLink now has nearly 1.2 million community members after quadrupling the initial 300,000 members who began the journey with us back in 2013. It’s not just volume that has grown over time. The overall engagement level of the community is higher than ever, thanks to our avid members with various roles including catalog contributors, volunteers, big and small sellers, MOC designers, and set/minifig collectors.

Along the way, we also set an ambitious company vision – to unlock the true potential of LEGO bricks with the power of global communities. We believe in the creative power of AFOL communities and wanted to harness it with BrickLink. That’s why we launched AFOL-powered platforms and tools, such as MOC Shop (2014), Stud.io (2016), Studio 2.0 (2018), and piloted the first AFOL Designer Program (2018-2019) in addition to improvements on marketplace features.

Collaborating with the LEGO Group for the AFOL Designer Program taught us how much the LEGO Group cares about AFOL communities and how deeply they respect all of the creations and cultural heritage of adult LEGO fans. When two companies have perfectly aligned visions while filling in the missing parts of each other, it’s not too difficult to imagine how the collaboration will go. Once the potential synergy turned into reality with the success of the first AFOL Designer Program, we had no doubt that we were ready to take the collaboration to the next level. The LEGO Group’s acquisition of BrickLink was the best possible choice for us to secure future collaboration opportunities for AFOL communities.

So, what does this acquisition mean to you? It’s too soon to tell what exactly will happen at this point, but the direction is clear. The LEGO Group shares our ambition to create the best possible platform/experience for adult fans. We understand that you might have more questions about the details of future changes. Please refer to the FAQs below, and feel free to leave comments on this post. We also welcome any suggestions or cool ideas for future collaboration projects. We’ll keep you posted when we have follow-ups or major milestones to announce. So, please stay tuned.

FAQ ABOUT THE ACQUISITION

  • Why is the site being sold? – Jay and the BrickLink team have bold ambitions for the platform and they believe these could be best achieved together with the LEGO Group.
  • Will this have any impact on BrickLink’s independence? – Yes, and no. BrickLink will no longer be an “unofficial” marketplace and will need to be conscious of the fact that it is representing the LEGO brand in a much more direct way than before. However, BrickLink’s target audience (AFOLs) will remain unchanged, and the BrickLink brand itself will remain intact.
  • Will BrickLink still be based in the United States? – Yes. BrickLink is currently based in Irvine, California and there are no immediate plans to move the company.

ADDITIONAL INFO ABOUT ACQUIRING BRICKLINK

As you can imagine BrickLink buyers and sellers and LEGO fans in general have a host of questions about the acquisition. There are two very informative interviews with the LEGO Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Julia Goldin, with more details about what we can expect to see after the purchase is finalized. There are also a couple of important discussions on the BrickLink Forum about the topic. Here are the links:

As you can see, there is a lot to digest here, and questions and concerns are rippling through the LEGO fan community. The acquisition will definitely have an effect on both BrickLink buyers and sellers. How all of this will unfold is yet to be seen. We have been assured at the LEGO Ambassador Network Forum that once the acquisition is finalized, LEGO will be able to share more details. In the meantime, they are gathering feedback, questions, and comments, and they plan to answer them as soon as possible. If you are a BrickLink buyer or seller, I recommend that you stay calm, continue without panicking, but also familiarize yourself with other LEGO trading platforms like eBay and BrickOwl.com (very similar to BrickLink), in case things go South with BrickLink.

What do you think? Do you have any questions, comments, concerns about this news? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

DavidH December 3, 2019 at 10:20 AM

I will have to take some time to digest thiks information, but my first reaction is that I don’t have a good feeling about this.

Kuato Lives December 3, 2019 at 10:27 AM

Bad! No like

brickmaster December 3, 2019 at 10:33 AM

I have been thinking about this ever since I heard the news. I have a very bad feeling about this. Lego can’t even manage and run their own website. How are they going to run Bricklink with thousands of sellers and buyers from all over the world?

Tito December 3, 2019 at 10:39 AM

My concern is that they are going to put restrictions on sellers about what they can sell and when, and even at what price. I might put in all my orders now before SHTF. I don’t think this is going to end good.

waverider December 3, 2019 at 10:44 AM

Is this a done deal already? I bet the current owners make out good, but man, they should have offered the site to the community first before selling it to Lego. Lego literally hates resellers. And now we supposed to believe they love them?

Giza December 3, 2019 at 11:05 AM

And this is how liberty dies…. I wonder if lego knows what they got themselves into. They are only talking about studio and the afol designer program. If I were a big seller on bricklink with my income depending on the site, I would start making new years resolutions right now.

Sith015 December 3, 2019 at 11:15 AM

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” – Obi Wan Kenobi

That’s all I could think of when hearing this news. 🙁

sammy December 3, 2019 at 11:52 AM

Come on, guys, it may not be that bad. Lego ruining bricklink would be bad for them too. They would piss off their most loyal and high spending fans. It would be a riot. They do have a history of hating on resellers, but they also do some great stuff with afols, like Lego Ideas.

Adam III December 3, 2019 at 1:55 PM

I’m on the opinion that it’s best to wait and see. There is nothing we can really do to make them stop taking over Bricklink, so we might as well remain hopeful. There is another site, Brickowl that we can use in case they really mess this up.

Walter Wojciechowski December 3, 2019 at 3:05 PM

This might help cull the ridiculous reseller prices. They should treat their models like Disney does with its films.

Peter December 3, 2019 at 4:27 PM

I’m afraid to even think about the potential outcome from this. And it came out of the blue. I didn’t even know bricklink was for sale!

Peter December 3, 2019 at 4:29 PM

Prices on Bricklink are almost always more reasonable than anywhere else. And it’s a free market, so everyone can buy and sell for whatever makes sense. However, I agree that Lego could use bricklink to gauge what’s popular and should be made again.

LEGO MOC Builder December 3, 2019 at 4:40 PM

There is nothing wrong with outrageous prices. Face it, you DO NOT need LEGO. The sellers can charge whatever they want, nothing is forcing you to pay all those dollars, except an addiction to LEGO :). As a LEGO reseller there is a lot of risk with what sets you buy and at what price, after that I stick the LEGO set in my house for 5+ years just waiting for you to come along and decide you want it. Multiply that out by several sets and you have yourself whole rooms dedicated to storing LEGO for people that won’t buy them for another year. I get that high prices are frustrating but these prices are what incomes to families. If you would like to continue discussing this in a nice open manner just reply and I will get back to you! Have a nice day! and p.s. I do HATE the fact that LEGO bought bricklink/

Håkan December 3, 2019 at 7:48 PM

Yeah, I guess the actual earnings from the site is small potatoes, so there’s probably other reasons involved in the purchase. Data mining seems most likely, as an analysis of the interests and purchasing habits of the special interest group of AFOLs.

Wouldn’t know if there’d be higher commissions to pay, for the sellers.

I guess SohoBricks would have to go, out of pure principle, or perhaps it would be rebooted as a charity branch with actual Lego bricks.

I got to think of Nintendo, who tried to control the aftermarket of its video games by rather shady methods in the 90’s, or in Sweden they tried to implement a system of authorized second hand dealers that would pay them a commission, claiming that unauthorized vending would be illegal, a statement I believe lawyers would claim was pure poppycock.

admin December 3, 2019 at 8:56 PM

Hope that LEGO won’t go the Nintendo route. We will see how all of this will unfold next year. As others said, we always have BrickOwl to fall back on. The beauty of the free market is that we can always go to another place to have our needs met, and there is always someone who is willing to do things better and cheaper.

Master Builder December 3, 2019 at 9:37 PM

Like others, I don’t have a good feeling about this, but I’m not going to panic until we know more. I hope they have a good plan because otherwise many AFOLs will quit the site and maybe even leave the hobby.

Håkan December 4, 2019 at 5:11 AM

Yeah, I guess the prices are largely set by a free market, not really by some conspiracy. If the prices are too high and stock remains in store for too long, the prices would ultimately sink. Sellers would try to make a profit, and buyers would make a personal decision if the asking price is worth paying.

(Personally, I don’t buy much Lego for strict collecting reasons, however.)

Ray December 4, 2019 at 2:38 PM

Wow!

I mean, Lego themselves could always get in on the game and find a way to supply those in-demand and hard to find pieces. The strength of bricklink seems to be the ability to get that specific piece in the specific color you need. For aftermarket complete sets, eBay would be the major alternative. I wouldn’t be surprised if more complete sets were already sold via eBay than via Bricklink.

admin December 4, 2019 at 7:35 PM

Yeah, eBay is more popular for selling sets, but for parts BrickLink has no rival.

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