LEGO to Acquire Bricklink
Yesterday morning I awoke and checked my various news feeds for interesting LEGO news, and discovered that pretty much any LEGO related source online had lit up with an announcement that had been made overnight.
The LEGO Group is set to acquire Bricklink for an undisclosed sum.
Bricklink was originally founded in June, 2000 by Dan Jezek under the original name of BrickBay before eBay decided they didn't want anyone else using the term "Bay" in 2002. At that point, Bricklink was born.
Dan passed away in 2010, so the website was run by his family for three years before being sold to current owner Jung-Ju "Jay" Kim and NXMH in June 2013.
In that time, Bricklink has continued to thrive and grow, with the 2018-2019 AFOL Designer Program which was a collaboration with the LEGO Group opening the channels for discussion.
The official LEGO media release states -
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 their 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.”
So what does this all mean for Bricklink's million buyers, sellers and investors? Well in truth we don't really know yet. Sentiment among some, was trepidation, and a suspicion that this could spell the death of Bricklink, whilst others, myself included, remain more optimistic.
When all is said and done, Bricklink was developed as a secondary market for LEGO. The site isn't competing by producing and selling clone bricks and knock off sets, so I can actually see where it is in LEGO's interests to keep it going strong, and perhaps invest more into the development of it all. There will, of course, likely be some collateral damage, with producers of customised parts (such as BrickArms) expected to be removed to bring the site back to it's true origins of a purely LEGO marketplace.
I also see that with the AFOL Designer Program, there may be some synergies with LEGO Ideas to get even more awesome fan based designs into production.
With the transaction expected to be completed by the end of the year, it appears 2020 will be an interesting time, whichever way it goes.
Until next time, Leg Godt - Play Well.