Funko, giant pop culture collectible distributor behind the ubiquitous Funko Pops, has left the tabletop industry by selling the licences and distribution rights to its board game portfolio to Dutch family-weight game publisher Goliath Games for an undisclosed amount.
The new partnership, detailed in a press release from January 17th, gives Goliath a multi-year agreement to exclusively distribute Funko’s existing catalog of board games, which includes Pan Am, the Funkoverse series and several film-to-board game adaptations such as Jaws, Back to the Future and Rear Window. The privately-owned Goliath previously specialised in mass appeal titles such as Rummikub but will now collaborate with Funko to design new games and puzzles under the existing brands.
Prospero Hall’s assets were also included in the sale, turning ownership of the studio formerly known as Forrest-Pruzan Creative over to the Dutch company. Funko purchased the Washington-based studio in 2019 to develop more weighty and complex board games. Renamed Prospero Hall, the designers previously developed the popular Disney Villainous board game for Ravensburger.
Now, according to reporting from BoardGameWire, those designers might be left without jobs. Allegedly, none of Prospero Hall’s staff were included in Funko’s offloading of licences and assets to Goliath. Funko accepted an initial payment for the sale and will receive “future minimum guaranteed royalty payments” from Goliath for the use of Funko’s brand. The press release mentions existing inventory and intellectual property but fails to mention Prospero Hall’s roughly 20 employees - unless they’re somehow swept into the definition of “acquired assets”. Dicebreaker has reached out for more information.
Funko weathered a rough financial year in 2023 by laying off around 200 employees in July, and the board of directors replaced former CEO Brian Mariotti with interim CEO Michael Lunsford - both still hold director positions within the company. Funko Pop figurines and clothes brand LoungeFly struggled to report profits, while board games and other products was the only division to post profit during several quarters of adjusted expectations.
“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,” Lunsford said in the press release.