Hasbro, Paramount Home Entertainment Partner on Video Line
Hasbro, Inc., and Paramount Home Entertainment formed a new partnership whereby Paramount will distribute a line of home videos based on G.I. Joe, Transformers, Tonka, Duel Masters, Secret Central, Weebles, and Candy Land. First titles, G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom and Tonka Tough Truck Adventures: The Biggest Show on Wheels, are due in September. Transformers Energon and Have You Heard? Secret Central will follow in October. Remaining titles are slated for store shelves in spring 2005. “We are excited about this deal because the brands that shape childhood will be the brands that shape home entertainment,” says Megan Burrows, president of Paramount Home Entertainment Worldwide.
RC2 Acquires Two Companies
RC2 Corp. acquired The First Years Inc. and Playing Mantis, Inc., as the company furthers its strategy of marketing its brands through multiple sales channels and growing its retail presence, particularly in chain stores. The First Years will be acquired in a cash merger estimated at approximately $136.8 million and will close in RC2’s third quarter. The Playing Mantis transaction is an asset purchase and calls for closing consideration of $17 million in cash and $2.5 million in shares of RC2’s common stock. Additional cash consideration of up to $4 million may be earned based on achieving net sales and margin targets for 2004 and net sales targets for 2005.
Target to Sell Marshall Field’s
Target plans to sell Marshall Field’s to The May Department Stores Co. for approximately $3.2 billion in cash. Under the terms of the deal, Target will sell substantially all of Marshall Field’s assets including 62 stores, three distribution centers, and approximately $600 million of credit card receivables. The May Department Stores Co. will offer all current employees employment. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed shortly after approval is obtained.
Barbie as the Next American Idol
Barbie is set to audition for American Idol and Global Idol next spring in a deal between Mattel, Idol creator Fremantle Media, and 19 Entertainment (creator of music-based entertainment). Barbie and friends will offer girls a new way to play out their favorite American Idol fantasies, including three new friends Barbie meets at the open call auditions and new products to enrich storylines such as a stage set and a music feature that offers friendship-themed songs. Fans will vote online at www.barbie.com
Sesame Workshop Vacations at Beaches
Sesame Workshop is going on vacation, signing a deal with Beaches, the first-ever resort company to sponsor Sesame Street. The year-long sponsorship will include a variety of features including new Sesame Street activities at Beaches resorts beginning in September. The initiatives include daily walk-around character appearances; on-site Sesame Street-themed events including character dining, story times, activities, and parenting seminars. Specially priced packages for fall vacations will feature all of the above, plus, on select dates, live performances by Gordon from Sesame Street and the real Elmo, themed welcome gifts, and other amenities that will be announced soon.
WBCP to represent FIFA
FIFA appointed Warner Bros. Consumer Products as its sole and exclusive worldwide licensing representative for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany in all markets outside Europe and Japan. Under the deal, WBCP offices outside of Europe and Japan will take charge of the licensing, merchandising, and retail program supporting the 2006 FIFA World Cup. WBCP will license the rights to use the Official 2006 FIFA World Cup event emblem, official mascot, and the FIFA World Cup Trophy for products in key merchandise categories.
Classic Toys Focus of New Deal
Fisher-Price will partner with Sababa Toys on a line of classic Fisher-Price toy replicas and card games for specialty, furniture, and home lifestyle stores. The reproductions will be based on Fisher-Price “pull toys” such as the Snoopy Sniffer and Doctor Doodle and will be available in October. Sababa also will launch a line of card games in June including such classics as Go Fish, Crazy Eights, and Old Maid.
New Stamp Celebrates Friendship
The U.S. Postal Service is dedicating a set of four commemorative postage stamps honoring friendship as it appears in the art of Walt Disney, Wednesday, June 23. The first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place at Disneyland and be attended by Postmaster General John Potter and Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner. The stamps feature Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and a host of Disney friends. A set of stamped postal cards and stamped stationery also will be available.
Silver Lining Signs Two New Deals
Silver Lining obtained the merchandising rights to create brand extensions for Dragonology in a new deal with The Templar Co. As part of the deal, Silver Lining is developing concepts for television (kids ages 6 to 11) and special merchandise collections that will appeal to dragon devotees of all ages. Dragonology is a definitive book about dragons, an essential guide for budding dragonologists or students of dragon lore. In other news, Silver Lining is the first agency to be granted worldwide merchandising rights to develop the works of Eric Carle, the award-winning author and illustrator of children’s picture books such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Silverwing Program to Take Flight
Bardel Entertainment partnered with The Sharpe Co. to launch the merchandising program for Silverwing worldwide. The epic fantasy-adventure is based on a series of novels, “Silverwing,” “Sunwing,” and “Firewing.” The series currently airs on TV2 Denmark and Teletoon Canada. TV2 Norway and DQ Entertainment in India also have bought the series. Bardel owns the worldwide rights including the TV series, gaming Website, console game, publishing, and merchandise.
A Fanciful Licensed Collection
Roman Inc. will work with artist Karen Rossi, creator of Fanciful Flights. The first designs in the Roman-Rossi collaboration are a dozen mixed media lapel pins just hitting shelves. In September, a collection of functional accessories pairs Rossi’s red hat ladies theme with interests such as golfing, dining, and gardening. A selection of gifts for cats and cat lovers also will be available in September.
Lucasfilm, Cartoon Network Extend Clone Wars Franchise
Lucasfilm Ltd. and Cartoon Network will partner on a new Star Wars: Clone Wars mini-series to air five nights beginning March 21. Each of the episodes in the as-yet-unnamed mini-series will be 12 minutes vs. three minutes in the original Star Wars: Clone Wars episodes. The film, Star Wars: Episode III, is scheduled for May 19, 2005.
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It’s a Wrap in July
Complete the Licensing International show cycle by following up with attendees and securing your ad message in our post-show July issue. Be the act to remember as the curtain closes and reviews are read. Let ad frequency give you the edge as retailers, licensees, agents, and consultants do their post-show follow-up. Call Ben Zachariah at (212) 951-6705 or Pauline Ng at (212) 951-6698 to discuss your post-show message.
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