The Lego Group has acquired the world’s largest online marketplace for adult fans of Lego (Afols), BrickLink.

With more than one million registered users in around 200 countries, BrickLink essentially functions as an eBay for Lego users, with Afols using the network to buy and sell individual pieces. The marketplace comprises more than 10,000 stores located in 70 countries.

Danish toy giant Lego acquired the platform from Brussels-based investment firm NXMH for an undisclosed sum to “strengthen its connection with its important adult fan base”.

BrickLink was founded in 2000 by Dan Jezek, an Afol from the Czech Republic who sought to connect like-minded adult Lego fans from around the world. The company’s headquarters are in California.

‘Passionate’ fans

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.”

Lego takes on Sohobricks

Lego has also bought Sohobricks, a “clone” brand which produces pieces that are compatible with Lego bricks.

Lego CMO Julia Goldin declined to say whether the company planned to continue producing bricks made by a rival manufacturer.

“It’s very early days for us to say exactly how we will work together…We’re very excited about the deal,” Ms Goldin told Afol website The Brothers Brick.

“Our work together is just starting off, so we’re [going to] have to do some work together to figure out what the future looks like,” she added.

The Lego Group was founded in 1932 by Danish carpenter Otto Kirk Kristiansen, who initially produced wooden toys in naturalistic colours. Plastic later usurped wood to become Lego’s primary material, and the first interlocking system was introduced in 1958. Lego bricks manufactured then remain compatible with pieces produced today.

The name Lego is derived from the Danish phrase led godt, which means “play well”.