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Articles from 2021 In June


Gap To Shutter All U.K., Ireland Stores

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U.S.-based fashion giant Gap has confirmed it plans to close all stores in the U.K. and Ireland and go online-only, according to the BBC.

Between the end of August and the end of September, the company plans to do phased closures of all 81 of its stores. Nineteen stores are already scheduled to close in July due to lease expirations.

The firm told the BBC it was “not exiting the U.K. market,” but will shift to an online-only model in the territory. In the future, Gap is also looking to offload its French and Italian stores through a deal with another firm. Gap says it is currently in discussions with a partner for the potential acquisition of the stores in Italy.

“We believe in Gap’s global brand power,” the spokesperson told the BBC. “We are executing against Gap’s Power Plan and partnering to amplify our global reach. We are not exiting the U.K. market. We will continue to run and operate our Gap e-commerce business in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland."

S4C partners with the NSPCC’s Pantosaurus

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A partnership with S4C for the Welsh version of the NSPCC’s Pantosaurus video for their website ‘Cyw’ has been inked in a five-year agreement, which also includes the option for broadcast. The deal was brokered by Edutainment Licensing.

“We are delighted to be working with S4C to help build further awareness of Pantosaurus and his important message in Wales,” says Denise Deane, founder, Edutainment Licensing.

Developed for young viewers, the site is full of games, songs, coloring and activities and the video, together with the guidelines and an activity pack.

The video forms part of the #TalkPANTS campaign that gives parents, caregivers and teachers resources to explain the PANTS rule to young children in an age-appropriate way.

Each letter of PANTS provides a simple but valuable rule, highlighting that their body belongs to them, that they have a right to say no, and that they should tell an adult they trust if they’re worried or upset.

“We are thrilled to be part of this initiative and support the NSPCC campaign to ensure that young children can be confident about their bodies and rights,” says Sioned Wyn Roberts, children’s commissioner, S4C. “We look forward to welcoming Pantosaurus to our Cyw family soon.”

Cats vs. Pickles Announces Limited-Edition Holiday Character Drop

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Cepia, maker of Cats vs. Pickles, will be releasing a line of limited-edition, 4-inch collectible Holiday Cats vs. Pickles Beans in time for the holidays.

Featuring new, holiday-themed characters, Holiday Cats vs. Pickles Beans are available in 12-pack open assortments and 18-piece mystery bags. Cepia recently ran a pre-order for the new line of holiday characters for their social media fans and completely sold out of their run of the 12-pack in less than a week. While the pre-orders sold out, retailers will carry limited supplies of the holiday collection this fall.

The new collection of bean-filled “squidget” Cats vs. Pickles collectibles features 10 new cats. There are also two new and exclusive pickles in the collection: Johan and Douglas.

“The holidays are what it’s all about in the toy industry, and these limited-edition CvP beans truly reflect the spirit of the season by providing comfort and joy,” says James Russell Hornsby, chief executive officer, Cepia. “We wanted to give our CvP fans something extra special this season, and it’s our way of saying thank you during this extraordinary year.”

The new Holiday Cats vs. Pickles Beans and Mystery Bags will be available this fall at specialty stores, including Five Below and Learning Express and online from Amazon and shop.catsvpickles.com. Each collectible has an official Cats vs. Pickles icon of authenticity and a tag with the character name, bio and a QR code to download the free app.

Hybrid Apparel Acquires Air Waves, Expands into Apparel Print on Demand

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Hybrid Apparel has completed its acquisition of Air Waves, a design and technology driven print-on-demand (POD) provider serving e-commerce and wholesale customers. Air Waves will continue to operate in Columbus, Ohio and provide its print-on-demand and technology services to Hybrid’s retail customers and global license and lifestyle brand partners.

“Air Waves is a best-in-class digital print on demand and e-commerce technology provider and has developed a market-leading set of supply chain solutions and capabilities,” says Bill Hutchison, chief executive officer, Hybrid Apparel. “Last year, Hybrid began a fulfillment relationship with Air Waves for select customers and we were very impressed with their team and capabilities. We are now beyond excited to bring POD to all our customers. When you combine best-in-class creative and content with exceptional technology and infrastructure capabilities, you unlock a lot more opportunity for our collective retail, license and lifestyle brand partners. We look forward to continuing to build our industry leading global platform with Air Waves.”

Kyle Kantner, who acquired Air Waves in 2009, will continue to serve as chief executive officer of Air Waves while serving as an executive member of Hybrid.

“We have seen tremendous growth at Air Waves in recent years as online demand has soared and customers have recognized the value of our efficient on-demand digital solution,” says Kantner. “I’m really proud of our team who has helped build Air Waves into the scalable digital platform that it is today. We are ready for the next chapter of accelerated growth with our new partner, Hybrid. This is a transformational opportunity for both teams at Air Waves and Hybrid, and we are excited to bring this innovative solution to all our partners.”

The combination of Hybrid and Air Waves will create one of the largest omnichannel wholesalers of licensed, branded and private label apparel. Hybrid also operates the Junkfood Clothing brand.

Elvis Presley Streaming Channel Set for Launch

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Elvis has re-entered the building through a new streaming deal with Cinedigm in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises. The launch of an exclusive ad-supported and linear streaming service, The Elvis Presley Channel, will comprise Elvis Presley archival content and specials, as well as musical content from influential rock ‘n’ roll artists who inspired the music industry. The deal was negotiated by Josh Thomashow, executive director, acquisitions, Cinedigm, and Andrew O. Miller on behalf of Authentic Brands Group (ABG).

“We are thrilled to partner with Cinedigm to launch The Elvis Presley Channel,” says Marc Rosen, president, entertainment, ABG, which owns Elvis Presley Enterprises. “The Elvis fandom is incredibly passionate and Cinedigm is best-in-class when it comes to serving fervent fan bases.”

Expected to launch early 2022, Cinedigm is planning to make The Elvis Presley Channel available in the U.S. and Canada for linear and AVOD platforms on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media-streaming devices and the web. Cinedigm plans to distribute the programming across the broader OTT landscape to its network of distribution partners in the streaming space including Samsung, Pluto, Roku, Hulu, Amazon, Tubi and many more.

"There are few individuals more iconic than Elvis Presley, he transcends time, genre and medium,” says Erick Opeka, president, Cinedigm Digital Networks. “The opportunity to build a branded channel around Elvis opens up streaming possibilities to an entirely new demographic in the fastest-growing segment of the ad-supported business. The channel will allow a whole new audience to experience Elvis, while also giving his fans a more in-depth look at their idol.”

The launch of The Elvis Presley Channel continues Cinedigm’s expansion into the legacy icon space that began last year through the launch of The Bob Ross Channel.

Funko Reveals DJ Khaled Pop! Figure

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Funko, a pop culture consumer products company, has announced that musician DJ Khaled is now a Funko Pop! figure.

“We’re honored to have DJ Khaled join the Funko ranks as an official vinyl Pop!,” says Brian Mariotti, chief executive officer, Funko. “We’ve loved the process of designing a Pop! that fully encapsulates DJ Khaled’s iconic personality.”

Kicking off the second day of Funko’s POPapalooza, a three-day virtual event highlighting the latest Pop! music releases, the company debuted the figure.

“It’s an exciting energy and time to partner with Funko on this product,” says DJ Khaled. “It’s a fun and innovative figure that I love and look forward to being in everyone’s home, school or office. It’s ‘We The Best’… in all categories and looking forward to it ALL!” 

 “We The Best” fans can pre-order DJ Khaled’s Pop! on Amazon starting today.

Haribo Brings Goldbear to Life Through Licensing

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Ahead of the Haribo Goldbear’s 100th anniversary in 2022, the confectionary brand is rolling out a suite of toys, apparel, footwear and homeware in 2021 to help fans celebrate the world of Haribo. The collaborations were facilitated by IMG.

“It’s amazing to see the happy world of Haribo come to life through such a diverse, colorful program of products that embody the brand’s quality-first values,” says Sven Thierhoff, vice president, licensing, IMG. “Initial collaborations have been extremely popular with collectors and Haribo fans of all ages, and we can’t wait to develop together with Haribo and new partners new thrilling ideas for the centenary of the iconic Goldbear in 2022.”

Haribo’s consumer products program kicked off with the worldwide launch of a PUMA footwear and apparel collection that launched last month and just released its second drop. The candy-colored ranges infuse the Haribo Goldbears with some of PUMA’s classic silhouettes, including the ‘CA Pro,’ ‘Street Rider,’ ‘RS-X3’ and ‘Suede’ in adult, junior, pre-school and infant sizing.

Additional upcoming products include Haribo-branded shoes for kids with European footwear retailer Deichmann, launching end of July; Haribo toys, collectible and plush will be launching this fall through a multi-year, global deal with leading U.S. toymaker Jakks Pacific and KidsOne tableware in Korea.

“Haribo is undoubtedly one of the best-known and most popular brands in many countries around the world,” says Andreas Kuhnle, global marketing head, Haribo. “Our lives are full of adventures and challenges. Every day and all over the world, little and big heroes face new tasks. For all of them, we at Haribo create small, carefree moments of childlike happiness with our products. That’s why brands that also stand for these little moments of joy in everyday life are a perfect fit for Haribo.”

Mattel Secures ‘PAW Patrol: The Movie’ Deals

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Mattel has entered into a global licensing agreement with ViacomCBS Consumer Products to develop a selection of items for “PAW Patrol: The Movie,” a Spin Master Entertainment production in association with Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures, which will hit theaters on Aug. 20. 

Through this agreement, Mattel has the licensing rights to create a selection of items under its Mega Bloks and UNO brands.

Mattel’s “PAW Patrol” assortment will consist of more than 10 products featuring favorite characters such as Chase, Skye, Marshall, Ryder and Liberty. Specific items include: 

  • Mega Bloks “PAW Patrol” line – A selection of building sets including the Adventure City Pups Assortment, Marshall’s City Fire Rescue set and Rubble’s City Construction Truck, among others; and
  • UNO Junior “PAW Patrol” – This simplified UNO Junior card game for younger players is loaded with graphics from the upcoming animated movie.

The line will launch at retailers across the globe in fall 2021. 

Firefly Brand Management Scores ‘GameMaster’ Licensing Partners

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Firefly Brand Management has secured two new licensing partners for its client Peach Maria Productions for their gaming reality series, “GameMaster.”

A new licensing agreement has been signed with Play It All Forward for a range of products including game chairs, video gamer playing gloves, video gamer acoustic panels, protective sleeves for laptops, mini flashlights, mini-fridges, face masks, bandanas, squeezies, mini-plush keychains, fleece jackets, fleece hoodies, fleece beanies, prop replicas of championship belts, trophies, hand sanitizers and barrier protections.

Surreal Entertainment signed for six-to-20-inch plush, along with drinkware, shaped pillows, blankets, pins, buttons, backpack clips, magnets, stickers, journals, notepads, ramen bowls, dash dancers (dashboard bobbleheads) and championship belt.

The new licensing partnership falls on the heels of Firefly Brand Management’s recent announcement of signing with Peach Maria Productions to be the exclusive licensing agent for the new gaming reality series GameMaster, which is set to air on a national global streaming platform this fall.

Oreo Teases Pokémon Collab

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Oreo took to Twitter to tease its next collaboration.

Tweeting, “Our newest collab in September is going to be,” with a lightning emoji. “Can you guess what it is, Trainers?”

More news on the collab will be released in the coming weeks.