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
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
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 playschool.com 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 www.gaffney.com.au For costs, flights, and other details, e-mail [email protected]
For more licensing news and features, visit www.licensemag.com For more information on the Gaffney International Licensing Great Australian
Tour, visit www.gaffney.com.au