Weekly E-news, Issue #77, September 21, 2004

 

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Sony Eyes the Lion
MGM reached an agreement in principle to be acquired by a consortium including Sony Corporation of America, Providence Equity Partners Inc., Texas Pacific Group, and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners. Under the agreement, the consortium would pay $2.94 billion plus $2 billion debt assumption for the company. MGM management is expected to recommend the proposed merger to its board by September 27, 2004.
In other news, MGM will partner with Buongiorno Vitaminic on a digital licensing deal for The Pink Panther and Inspector Clouseau mobile contents in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The alliance, brokered by Copyright Promotions, coincides with the 40th anniversary of the property. Under the terms of the deal, Buongiorno will gain access to more than 100 images and video clips including images created by Shag for the 40th anniversary and the new “urban” and “exotic” versions. Under development are wallpaper, logos, and video-clip services of the Pink Panther.

Equity Marketing Changes Moniker
Equity Marketing, Inc., changed its corporate name to EMAK Worldwide, Inc. Equity Marketing, the company’s consumer products business, was renamed Pop Rocket. The changes were made to reflect the company’s global expansion and demonstrate its commitment as parent to a family of integrated marketing services agencies, including Johnson Grossfield, Logistix, SCI Promotion, Upshot, and Pop Rocket. Equity Marketing remains the brand for the legacy entertainment marketing and promotions business.

Target Broadens Parents Magazine Toy Line
Target extended its exclusive relationship with Parents Magazine, adding two new lines of toys. Brand new for the pair is the Imagine+Learn line with toys targeted at children ages 2 and up, and Animal Hospital, which includes all the tools of the trade for the budding vet, from stethoscope to pet vitamins. The Joester Loria Group is licensing agent for the Parents magazine brand, and Battat manufactures the toy line.

Strawberry Shortcake Loyalty Program Launched
American Greetings and DIC Entertainment launched the Strawberry Shortcake Berry Points consumer loyalty program. As part of the program, consumers clip and collect Berry Points directly from Strawberry Shortcake product packaging and redeem them for exclusive products. Photos and product descriptions are on www.strawberryshortcake.com There are three redemption levels: 15 points, 30 points, and 75 points. A free growth chart (while supplies last) is offered for the first 10 Berry Points redeemed with no charge for shipping and handling.

New Exhibit Areas Slated for Toy Fair
Two new special exhibition areas will highlight this year’s Toy Fair scheduled for February 20 to 23. Reading, Writing, & Rhythm (Level 3 of Javits Convention Center) will feature books and audio products, including music, musical instruments, and recordings, while Sweet Spot (Level 1 of Javits) will feature candy-related products.

GUND Adds Two Nick Jr. Licenses
GUND expanded its relationship with Nick Jr., adding Dora the Explorer Fairytale Adventure and Max & Ruby to its licensing portfolio. The line will coincide with the new Dora the Explorer Fairytale Adventure episodes on Nick Jr. beginning September 24 and will include Diego and several new sizes of Fairytale Dora plush dolls and a soft plush Fairytale Dora playset. The Max & Ruby collection includes Max & Ruby plush, Zip Clips, and a Ruby Purse Peeker.

Bendon Dolls Up Educational Book Program
Bendon Publishing is creating an educational publishing line for Barbie via a new deal with Mattel. The 18-sku line includes preschool and early learning workbooks, write-on-wipe-off notebooks, bind-up workbooks, workbook tablets, flashcards, reward stickers, and learning mats.

Global Icons Leads tomix Licensing Efforts
Global Icons teamed up with tomix to create a merchandising program for a broad range of categories based on the fitness brand including nutritional supplements, publishing, apparel and accessories, footwear, fitness videos and DVDs, and sporting goods.

Enesco Names New President
Enesco Group, Inc., named Cynthia Passmore-McLaughlin president, effective October 1. George Ditomassi will continue as interim CEO. Passmore-McLaughlin will address current and future business strategies, while Ditomassi will remain focused on resolving operational challenges related to the new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.

Alliance Atlantis Hire
William Hirsch joined Alliance Atlantis as director of product development and will oversee the product design process for all properties, including Dragon Booster and the CSI franchise.

Link – Licensing International Networking Conference – November 2-4, 2004, Miami, FL
Link attendees include presidents, vice presidents, chief marketing officers, and directors of licensing from top retailers and major QSRs from both domestic and international markets. Our confirmed list of retailers so far includes the vice president and business team leader from Best Buy, the president of licensing for Claire’s Stores Inc., the general merchandise manager/vice president for Hot Topic, the senior manager of Mervyn’s, and the partner, business & licensing, for Target, among others. Where else can you network with key decision makers who can make a difference in the possibilities for your brand or property? Attending Link will not only give you the opportunity to get your “Master’s in licensing” via our executive-level education program, but also will provide you an opportunity to link up with retailers. In addition to our keynote addresses from Todd Kahn of Sean John and Marshal Cohen of The NPD Group, our program includes sessions entitled, “The Wonderful World of Wireless Licensing,” “Identifying New Business Opportunity with Licensing Candidates,” and our Latin American Licensing Agent Roundtable. To see the complete program, request a brochure, or register online, go to www.linkconference.com

For more licensing news and features, visit www.licensemag.com For more information on DIC Entertainment’s latest licensing efforts, visit www.dicentertainment.com

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