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Bluebird blasts pounds 42m bid

THE takeover battle for Bluebird Toys, best known for its Polly Pocket range of miniaturised dolls, hotted up on Friday as chief executive Chris Burgin launched a scathing attack on predator Sir Ron Brierly's Guinness Peat Group, writes Richard Phillips. Chris Burgin, Bluebird's chief executive, blasted the all-cash pounds 42m bid for his company. "I'll be staggered if intelligent shareholders fall for this shabby ruse," he said.

Bluebird will be unveiling a range of new products and license tie-ins at the Olympia Toy Fair, which opens in a week's time. Mr Burgin expects the new ranges on show to offer further proof of the company's comeback.

"We are at the bottom of the curve now, and the only way forward now is up," he said.

Among the new lines that the company will be promoting is a relaunch of the Wombles, the eco-friendly cuddly beasts from the 1970s. Bluebird has exclusive licensing rights in the UK for the characters to tie-in with a new TV series, and an updated version of the music by Mike Batt.

Bluebird also has a miniaturised range of dolls based on the X Men, a Marvel Comics comic strip. The company already produces other Marvel characters, including the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four.

Mr Burgin said that the general feedback from shareholders had been extremely supportive. He argued that there was little in the way of hidden value that GPG could extract from the company. It has cut staff back from 430 in 1994 to 100 and has outsourced its manufacturing overseas.