German toy maker Simba Dickie Group will take over parts of French rival Smoby-Majorette SA, following a decision by a French court that was overseeing Smoby's future.
Furth-based Simba Dickie announced March 3 that administrators at the Tribunal de Commerce in Lons-le-Saunier, France, had approved the sale.
The decision means that France's No. 3 toy maker is no longer in the hands of MGA Entertainment Inc. of Van Nuys, Calif., the manufacturer of Bratz dolls and Little Tikes toys.
MGA had been attempting to come up with a plan to keep Smoby that would have been acceptable to the court and creditors, but it was only able to reach an agreement with banks representing 50 percent of Smoby's debt, it said in a news release.
``We have always been convinced of the benefit of allying MGA with Smoby,'' Didier Pietri, MGA chief operating officer, said in the release.
``It is regrettable that the working conditions with the judicial administration and the defection of certain banks now forces Smoby Group into a plan ... whose social consequences could be severe.
``I am disappointed and anxious for the future of Smoby and for its employees.''
Smoby filed for protection from its creditors in March 2007 and was taken into administration in October.
Smoby employed 2,300 people around the world, including 1,080 in France. Simba Dickie, however, plans to retain only about 400 Smoby workers.
Simba Dickie will keep Smoby's headquarters in Lavans-les-Saint-Claude, France, and production facilities in Arinthod, Moirans, Groissiat and Bellignat, the company said.
``The 401 employees we believe are needed for these sites will be retained in accordance with our offer,'' said Managing Director Uwe Weiler.