Sometimes the biggest fortunes can come from the tiniest things — in this case, the millions of small pieces of plastic pumped out by Danish toymaker Kirkbi, owner of Lego.
Yesterday, Kirkbi’s billionaire chairman Kjeld Kristiansen saw his fortune skyrocket, thanks to major changes afoot in the broader toy market.
Already Denmark’s richest man, Kristiansen saw his net worth climb $2.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. Kristiansen is now worth a total of $13.2 billion, after reports surfaced that Mattel and Hasbro could soon merge.
“[Lego’s] valuation rose by $2.7 billion on Nov. 13, 2017 due to a rise in the peers’ valuation metrics following merger speculation,” a Bloomberg rep told Money in an email. Bloomberg says Kristiansen’s net worth happened to have also increased by $2.7 billion because he is chairman and part owner of Kirkbi, which has more holdings and is far more valuable than just the Lego brand.
“The Hasbro/Mattel talks have spiked values in the industry,” the Bloomberg representative said. Mattel’s share price soared more than 20% in Monday trading.
“Mattel takeover speculation surged last month after an analyst suggested that the company may be better off as an acquisition target,” Bloomberg reported. “The merger talk followed a surprisingly sharp sales decline at Mattel last quarter. The toy company, which makes Barbie and Fisher-Price, suspended its dividend and escalated a cost-cutting push to cope with the slump.”
Lego had $5.6 billion in revenues in 2016, according to its annual report, greater than both Mattel’s $5.46 billion and Hasbro’s $5.02 billion. Lego is privately held.
Kristiansen, 69, is the grandson of Lego’s founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen. The younger Kristiansen was CEO of the company from 1979 to 2004, helping turn it into an internationally recognized brand. Today he is the 95th-wealthiest person in the world according to Bloomberg.
Kirkbi also owns Merlin Entertainment, the unit set up to oversee the world’s various Legoland theme parks, as well as London’s iconic London Eye glass Ferris wheel.