Here is a post from a knowledgeable member from another board. Nancy Ward
Ellison has been a favorite die cutting machine in schools and institutions for a long, long time...these machines are large and intended for heavy-duty use. No surprise, they're expensive and many dies are very large. If a school doesn't have an Ellison, it has an AccuCut (another brand) die cutting machine.
About '98 (can't remember exactly when) Provo Craft and Ellison formed a limited partnership for the production and marketing of the Sizzix Machine (the one now called, the Original). Ellison would handle manufacturing and PC would handle sales and marketing. The machine was an immediate success.
Provo Craft had been a family owned company; the company was sold to a holding company four or five years ago. The Ellison/Sizzix partnership was disolved at that time. Ellison acquired all rights to the Sizzix name and products. The big sales we saw (and enjoyed) then were of products with the original Sizzix logo...the new Sizzix logo is the one we see now. A few of the dies were discontinued, but not too many.
Although each brand has its own logo and staff, Ellison and Sizzix are in the same corporation (think Clearsnap and SU...two companies, one corporation).
Many of the products have interchanable logos...some are labeled Sizzix, some are labeled Ellison. The offices for both brands are in the same building in Lake Forrest, CA.
Big Kick was an Ellison product; Ellison was responsible for all aspects of the machine and accessories (manufacture, sales, marketing). BigShot was a PC/Ellison product. Big Kick has been phased out of the market by Ellison.
Other than cosmetic features, the Big Kick and BigShot are (were)identical...the same is true for the SU BigShot which is a Ellison/SU product (Ellison handles manufacturing; SU handles sales and marketing.
Gotta love this craft biz!