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
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
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!
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