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The world’s largest and most recognizable brand licensing agencies represent a diverse and dynamic group of corporate, entertainment and celebrity brands and account for more than $60 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise.

April 6, 2018

5 Min Read

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE 2015 TOP AGENTS LIST.

The world’s largest and most recognizable brand licensing agencies represent a diverse and dynamic group of corporate, entertainment and celebrity brands and account for more than $60 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise.

There's no denying the influence of the world'stop licensing agencies, particularly in a year like 2015 when the No. 1 spot is shared by IMG and The Licensing Company, both ofwhich reported $8.3 billion in worldwide retail sales of licensed products for the brands they represent.

TLC's move to No. 1 represents a big jump from 2014when the agency held theNo. 5 position with $4.1 billion.Now its reported retail sales have more than doubled, thanks in large part to the agency's acquisition by Li &Fung in early 2014. (Six months later Li & Fung spun off itsbrands and licensing business into Global Brands Group.)

Another big mover this year was Striker Entertainment,which moved from No. 26 to No. 11, reporting $1.5 billion in retail sales in 2015 thanks to blockbuster popculture brands including "The Walking Dead," "CandyCrush" and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

Rounding out the top five are LMCA, Equity Managementand the Beanstalk Group, which at $6.59 billion,$5.9 billion and $5.7 billion respectively, each represent significant portions of the global licensing business.

New to the list is Knockout Licensing/CopCorp Licensing with $475 million in retail sales for brands such as Fifty Shades of Grey and "DowntonAbbey," and Australia's Haven Licensing.

Two Top 10 agents, Beanstalk (No. 5)and CPLG (No. 10), both announced major organizational changes this year, as well.

Allison Ames was named chief executive officer of Beanstalk as co-founder and current CEO Michael Stone took on the role of chairman. Check out our exclusive interview with Ames on page 16.

Meanwhile, Copyright Promotions Licensing Group, which is part of DHX Media, has been in expansion mode. The agency combined two existing businesses, FWD Licensing and License2Brand, to create CPLG MENA and CPLG Turkey and Greece, while alsoopening new offices in Stockholm, Sweden and Warsaw, Poland, as it extended its footprint in Europe.

Of course this only scratches the surface ofwhat these 35 companies have accomplished in the last year. Here's an overview of some the dealsbrokered by the world's top agents in 2015.Character/EntertainmentAlways a robust area of activity, this year was no exception.CPLG signed on to help build a whole host of brands including Mind Candy's new gaming brand "Worldof Warriors" in continental Europe and the U.S.; thehit Japanese brand "Yo-Kai Watch" in Benelux and Italy; DreamWorks' classic characters Felix the Catand Where's Wally? in France; and Nickelodeon &Viacom Consumer Products in the Nordics and CEE.

Meanwhile, Brand Central signed on to represent two classic television properties, "Reading Rainbow," which was re-launched as a digital brand in 2011, and "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader," which Fox brought back for a 12-episode run in May. The agency also signed up to build the "Angry Birds" brand in the food and beverage category.

The Joester Loria Group continued to grow The World of Eric Carle in new, innovative categories including non-toxic cleaning products and costumes.

Also this year, the Licensing Company signed a major new client in Europe–Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.

Corporate/Home

LMCA is truly a leader in this category, developinginnovative extensions for household brands including Westinghouse, Trane and Roto-Rooter. This year alone, the agency helped to bring the Westinghouse brand to kitchen appliances in China, a line of security systems and water purifiers. Also this year, LMCA signed on to represent the electronics brand RCA in China.

IMG's work on the Goodyear brand shows the true potential of a corporate brand when managed well. Among the extensions that the agency worked up for the tire brand this year include a host of apparel and accessories deals including a racing range, a vintage line and footwear in South America, as well as branded hand tools in India and car accessories in China and Hong Kong.

Sticking with the automotive category, TLC put together a whimsical extension for the Jeep brand–a line of baby strollers. Meanwhile, Global Icons signed on to help build the University of Oxford brand in North America after representing the brand for several years in Europe.

Food/Beverage
The Joester Loria Goup continues to lead the way in this category, with current clients including PepsiCo(SoBe, Pepsi and Mountain Dew), Constellation Beers (Corona and Modelo Especial), Kellogg's, Pringles and Entenmann's. This year the agency also added the Jimmy Buffet-inspired Margaritaville brand, which is looking specifically to build out its food extensions, as well as the U.S. egg brand Eggland's Best.

Brand Central continued its work with Krispy Kreme, building the brand's coffee profile at retail with ground coffee, K-cup packs and ready-to-drink iced coffees.

Beanstalk also went from strength to strength in this space, signing on to represent the American inspired London bakery chain Hummingbird Bakery,while at the same time continuing to build a diversified program for Diageo's Guinness beer brand.

At the same time, TLC helped to broker a deal this year for Hershey's-branded grilling gear to help make the perfect s'mores; and IMG signed on to represent Laughing Cow cheese and the vitamin drink mix Emergen-C.

Sports
The past few years have seen demand for licensed sports gear go through the roof as consumers become more interested in healthy lifestyles, and agencies are becoming increasingly important in capitalizing on this trend.

Crystal Palace FC just appointed CPLG to help build its merchandising program in October; while Michigan State University, one of the U.S.'s largest remaining independent licensing programs, teamed up with IMG's Collegiate Licensing Company. The CLC is a powerhouse in the collegiate arena, representing nearly 200 institutions worldwide, 25 of which it signed this year alone.

CAA Sports' Fermata Partners division emerged as a force to be reckoned with this year as well, signing huge names such as Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Tottenham Hotspur.

Finally, in a move to strengthen its foothold in the live events sector, WME/IMG bought the bull riding circuit Professional Bull Riders, which features more than 300 events worldwide each year. The company also owns Formula Drift Racing, the Miami Open, the Rio Open and the U.S. Open of Surfing. ©

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE 2015 TOP AGENTS LIST.

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