Weekly E-news, Issue #86, November 23, 2004
Kmart and Sears to Merge
Kmart Holding Corp. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. have agreed to merge into a new retail company named Sears Holdings Corp. The $11 billion deal, expected to close by the end of March 2005, will create the nation’s third largest retailer with nearly $55 billion in annual revenues and nearly 3,500 retail stores. Sears Holdings will act as the holding company for the Sears and Kmart businesses, which will continue to operate separately under their respective brand names. Sears Holdings will be headquartered in Hoffman Estates, IL, and Kmart will continue to have a significant presence in Troy, MI. Kmart Chairman Edward Lampert will be chairman of Sears Holdings.
Jones Apparel Group—owner of the Jones New York, Anne Klein, and Nine West brands—is buying luxury retailer Barneys New York for approximately $400 million. Barney’s CEO Howard Socol will remain at the helm.
Disney Publishing Acquires Comic Book Publisher
Disney Publishing Worldwide acquired CrossGen Entertainment, Inc., a comic book and graphic novel publisher. CrossGen’s stable of epic fantasy and science fiction properties include Abadazad, Ruse, Way of the Rat, Meridian, Mystic, Route 666, and Sojourn. Four Abadazad books already are slated to be published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of DPW.
Marvel Enterprises Extends Deal with AME
Marvel Enterprises, Inc., named American Marketing Enterprises Inc. its exclusive sleepwear licensee as the company consolidates subcategories and furthers its category management strategy. As part of the multi-year deal, AME will produce and market sleepwear and loungewear, blanket sleepers, robes, and convenience item holders for characters including Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Namor, Captain America, and Daredevil, as well as Marvel’s preschool line, Spider-Man and Friends, and Marvel’s infant brand, Marvel Babies.
Return of The Smurfs
DIC Entertainment acquired from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution the broadcast rights to 26 half-hour episodes of animated TV series The Smurfs. The Smurfs will begin airing in January 2005 on the DIC Kid’s Network, a three-hour programming block designed to provide stations with children’s programming that meets “core” FCC requirements. The Smurfs made their first appearance in 1956 when creator Peyo introduced them in a story of Johan & Peewit in Le Journal de Spirou. The Smurfs traditional animated television series produced by Hanna Barbera in the early 1980s was first bought by Fred Silverman, president of the Fred Silverman Company and former CEO and president of NBC. The series aired Saturday mornings on NBC for nearly a decade. The Smurfs evolved into a global brand with a successful line of toys, books, and music.
The Weebles to Wobble in Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Weebles will be wobbling in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the first ever balloonicle. The balloonicle (a balloon with a motorized vehicle inside) was created to reflect the Weebles’ “wobbly” character. Playskool also held a sweepstakes at
where one family (with a child under age 5) won a chance to take part in the parade and eat dinner at a New York City restaurant.
Licensing International Show to Celebrate Milestone
Licensing International Show celebrates its silver anniversary this year with several new exhibitors and the return of License to Style and several other high-profile events. The show, slated for June 21 to 23, will feature LEGO, Mary Engelbreit, and Celador for the first time, as well as an expanded presence from NASCAR.
PorchLight to Represent New Property
PorchLight Entertainment will manage the U.S. merchandising rights for “The Secret World of Benjamin Bear,” created by Amberwood Entertainment. As part of the deal, PorchLight Entertainment also will represent the series for TV and video rights in the U.S. “The Secret World of Benjamin Bear” blows the lid off the best-kept secret in the world, the one about teddy bears: They’re not just cuddly toys. They’re alive, and when we turn our backs in the day or go to bed at night, they hop into action and lead secret lives full of amazing adventures.
Classic Brands Enter Toy Hall of Fame
G.I. Joe and Scrabble joined the rank-and-file of classic toys after being inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at Strong Museum. The pair joins other Hasbro brands previously inducted including Tinkertoy, Tonka Trucks, Mr. Potato Head, Lincoln Logs, Play-Doh, and Monopoly. G.I. Joe was introduced in 1964, while Scrabble rose to fame in 1948 after being renamed several times during the 1930s.
My Little Pony Extends into Beauty Biz
Hasbro Properties Group is extending My Little Pony into health and beauty products this holiday season, signing deals with Cosrich for bath gift sets and bubble bath and Townley for gifts sets to include lip gloss, bubble bath, and nail polish. Zooth also is shipping sculpted toothbrushes, power toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
Movin’ On Up
HIT Entertainment named Cynthia Dartley senior manager, broadcast relations. Dartley will be responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of programming, promotions, and outreach plans.
At Discovery Consumer Products, Tracey L. Beeker was named vice president of home entertainment with responsibility for the home entertainment business in North America including its newly formed alliance with Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Christopher Brennan was promoted to vice president of marketing & retail development, NBA Global Merchandising Group. In this role, Brennan will manage the marketing and retail development of NBA merchandise for all channels and product development for apparel, accessories, and home products in the mass market.
Michael Verrecchia was named senior vice president of marketing at DIC Entertainment and will oversee all marketing and promotional initiatives.
Gaffney’s Great Australian Tour
Don’t miss your chance to see the best brands from down under LIVE in Australia by joining the Gaffney International Licensing Great Australian Tour from November 27 to December 7. For full details, visit
For costs, flights, and other details, e-mail
For more licensing news and features, visit
For more information on the Gaffney International Licensing Great Australian Tour, visit
Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes, it’s completely free.