A Brief History of Larami

Larami Logo

Larami was founded in the 1950s by the brothers David and Maurice Ring. The company mainly produced low cost toys imported from Asia. In 1960, Al Davis and Myung Song joined Larami. Together, Davis and Song would lead Larami for the next 30 years. In 1970, Larami was sold to Tastykake Incoporated for $1.4 million. By that point, Davis and Song were business partners of David Ring. The three remained at Tastykake until 1978. However, in 1981 the three bought back Larami for $1.4 million dollars, the same amount they had sold it for. Ring left Larami sometime between 1982 and 1987. In 1987, Song and Davis became partners with L.T. Funston and Company. In 1990, shortly before the launch of the Super Soaker, Davis and Song bought out Funston's share of the company. Larami was based in Mount Laurel, Philadelphia and Hong Kong and employed 75 people.

The Super Soaker craze of the early 1990s left Larami flush in cash. Estimated sales of the Super Soaker were $30 million in 1990, $70 million in 1991, and $165 million in 1992. Larami carefully guarded its intellectual property and by 1992 held 70 patents and won 12 patent infringement cases. However, increased competition and market saturation led to a decline in sales to about $100 million in 1993. Market analysts believed the popularity of the Super Soaker had crested and Al Davis began looking to sell the company.

In 1994, Larami was approached by Hasbro Incorporated regarding a potential sale. Negotiations during December of 1994 revealed that Larami would be purchased by Hasbro for about $100 million. Leaked terms stated that Hasbro would pay $50 million up front and another $50 million over five years contingent upon sales performance of the Super Soaker brand. The deal was closed in February 1995 and neither party would reveal the final amount Hasbro agreed to pay. Under the terms of the deal, Davis and Song would remain at Larami for at least five years and Larami would be a subsidiary of Hasbro. No employees at Larami would lose their job. Shortly after the merger, Larami moved their offices to New Jersey. Davis and Song remained at Larami until 2001.

In 1996, Lonnie Johnson entered into an agreement with Hasbro that he would receive royalties of one to two percent for products based on his Super Soaker design. Johnson had to sue Hasbro to have the terms of the agreement honored and he was awarded $73 million in unpaid royalties in 2013.

In 2002, Larami was consolidated into Hasbro and in 2010 the Super Soaker line was absorbed into Hasbro's Nerf line.

Selected Bibliography:
Hasbro Is Said To Be Discussing Buying Larami. Wall Street Journal. December 20, 1994.
Larami Super Soakers is Wetting Hasbro Inc.'s Appetite. Philadelphia Inquirer. February 25, 1995.
Super Soaker creator awarded $72.9M from Hasbro. Atlanta Constitution Journal. November 6, 2013.
Alvin Davis, businessman behind Super Soaker (obituary). Philadelphia Inquirer. June 9, 2015.

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