Target Sells Off Mervyn’s, Marshall Field’s
Target Corporation is selling both Mervyn’s and Marshall Field’s as the chain focuses on its core namesake and shrinks its debt. The chain signed a definitive agreement to sell the 254-unit Mervyn’s chain and four distribution centers to an investment consortium for approximately $1.65 billion in cash. The consortium includes Sun Capital Partners, Inc.; Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.; and Lubert-Adler/Klaff and Partners, L.P. The company also will sell Mervyn’s credit card receivables, totaling nearly $475 million, to GE Consumer Finance. Mervyn’s will continue to operate as an independent company. Marshall Field’s is being acquired by The May Department Stores Company for approximately $3.2 billion in cash. Substantially all of the assets directly involved in its Marshall Field’s business unit—including 62 Marshall Field’s stores, three distribution centers, and approximately $600 million of Marshall Field’s credit card receivables—were included in the transaction.
Trollz Comes to Home Video
Warner Home Video Inc. and DIC Entertainment partnered on a home video distribution deal for Trollz. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, WHV will exclusively distribute nine Trollz home video and DVD made-for-videos beginning in fourth quarter 2005. DIC, along with its partners, simultaneously will roll out all major merchandise categories in the U.S. to coincide with 2005 back-to-school.
General Mills Develops Apparel Line
General Mills will bring its colorful characters to a line of apparel in a new deal with Coastal Concepts. The line of Ts, fashion tops, and loungewear (suggested retails, $12 to $24) will feature characters including the Trix Rabbit, Lucky the Leprechaun, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, Betty Crocker, and the Pillsbury Doughboy. The line will debut at MAGIC Marketplace and will ship to specialty, mid-tier, and upscale department stores during the third quarter.
Kids Exercise with Spider-Man
Toy Quest and Sony Pictures combine kids’ love of Spider-Man with the essential need for exercise in a new plug-and-play video game. The Spider-Man 2 Web Action Video Gaming System (suggested retail, $49.99) allows kids to strap on wrist and ankle sensors and have Spider-Man mirror their every movement. For Spider-Man to run, kick, jump, punch, or sling webs, the player moves accordingly to create those actions. The Spider-Man 2 Web Action Video Gaming System is part of the Nvision line of plug-and-play games that includes Power Rangers, Monster Garage, and Texas Holdem Poker, all with 16-bit graphics and CD-quality sound.
Boston Whaler Sets Course on Licensing
Boston Whaler will use its brand equity in the marine category as the jumping off point of its worldwide licensing program. Categories will include nautical instruments, safety equipment, fishing gear and accessories, apparel and accessories, footwear, eyewear, and boat furnishings.
Is There a Doctor in the House?
Andrew Weil, MD, “Your Trusted Health Advisor,” is establishing a licensing program with the help of Nancy Bailey & Associates. The agency will focus on food and beverage categories for the Dr. Weil brand, while Weil Lifestyle, LLC, will retain responsibility for other categories such as personal-care products, healthy home, kitchen and garden products, and healthy pet products. All after-tax licensing profits will go directly to the Weil Foundation created by Dr. Weil to sustain the vision of integrative medicine through research, education, and innovative projects that promote optimum health.
National Geographic to Co-Produce Preschool Series
National Geographic Television & Film’s Kids’ Programming and Production unit teamed with children’s production company Animation Collective to co-produce an original animated action-comedy series. Animation Collective was founded by producer Larry Schwarz, who has worked with MTV, 4Kids Entertainment, Scholastic, Nickelodeon, and other major entertainment companies.
The Word Is Out on New Property
Word World is the latest preschool property poised to make its entrance into licensing, entertainment, and retailing. The property was created by Word World and helps children understand the connection between spoken and written language with a unique “visual vocabulary.” The property features a collection of 15 WordThings characters that spell out the objects they represent. Magnetic plush characters, interactive books, and puzzles from Word World Toys are already on retail shelves.
New Video Game Deals
There’s a lot of activity on the video game front these days with new deals and releases hitting retail shelves. Electronic Arts began shipping Catwoman the video game for PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and the PC. The game retails for $39.95 for console platforms, $29.95 for Game Boy Advance, and $39.95 for PC. In other news, Groove Games and ARUSH Entertainment will release Playboy: The Mansion for holiday ’04, marking Playboy’s entry into the video game category and another step in its growth in the entertainment arena. The game will feature celebrity guests Carmen Electra and Tom Arnold, as well as a dedicated site at
Also due for holiday are PC, console, and handheld games based on the American Chopper TV series as part of a multi-year deal signed between Activision Value Publishing and Discovery Consumer Products.
Sesame Workshop Adds Three New Executives
Sesame Workshop announced the addition of three key executives to its ranks. Sarah Lesser Avins was named director of major gifts and will focus on securing major gifts from individuals in support of Sesame Workshop and its initiatives in research, education, and programming both domestically and internationally. Susanna Phillips joined the company as director, international publishing, and will be responsible for increasing publishing activity outside the U.S. Steven C. McDonald was named assistant vice president, corporate sponsorship, and will create and oversee corporate sponsorships packages for Sesame Street and Dragon Tales, as well as print, outreach, online, and research projects.
Enter the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge
Organized in partnership with License! magazine, the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge will take place during MIPCOM Jr., October 2-3 in Cannes, France. If you are a producer or creator of children’s entertainment, we invite you to submit and pitch new properties. Entries must be received by License! and/or MIPCOM Jr. no later than August 31. For more information, guidelines, and an application, visit
Following preselection (executed by License! editors), five properties will move to the next stage of the challenge. At MIPCOM Jr., in front of a live audience, finalists will have the opportunity to “pitch” their properties (and ultimately learn the potential for their property) to an international jury, chaired by Warren Kornblum, chief marketing officer, Toys “R” Us.
Thinking About Expanding Your Licensing Business?
The complete conference program is now available online at
Presented by License! magazine, Link (Licensing International Networking Conference) is an executive-level conference that brings together the leaders of today’s licensing industry. Top licensors, licensees, retailers, agents, marketers, and the media will come together in one of the most exciting global markets in the country. Conference sessions will cover a full spectrum of licensing topics including: Promotions and Co-Branding, Marketing to Demographics, The State of Retail, Financial & Legal Licensing Issues, and a special concentration on international markets. For information on becoming a Link sponsor, contact Steven Ekstract at (212) 951-6684 or
For general information, contact Diane Waltersdorf at (203) 701-0142 or
In September, License!’s automotive feature transports you to the lap of luxury. In addition, September focuses on back-to-school/SHOPA, celebrity chefs, and entertainment/broadcasting trends in advance of MIPCOM—a perfect editorial environment for character, brand, and entertainment properties. Contact your account managers,
at (212) 951-6705 or
at (212) 951-6698, for more information.
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