Judge Orders New Bratz Trial, Set for January
On Friday, October 29, Judge David Carter granted MGA’s request for a new Bratz trial on all issues decided. The previous Bratz trial, which pitted MGA against Mattel, was held in 2008. Judge Carter found that errors were made in the previous trial by former District Court Judge Stephen Larson, including instructing the jury and taking issues away from the jury, in which he said were “central, significant, pervasive, and likely determinative of the outcome of all claims.” Judge Carter stated that a “full new trial is therefore required and all verdicts and damages awards must be vacated,” including the $100 million damages verdict awarded to Mattel. According to MGA, a new trial with Mattel is scheduled for January.
Hasbro Partners for Silicone Wrist Bands
Hasbro will join the rubber band bracelet craze through a new licensing deal with Imperial Toy.
Imperial Toy plans to create Scrabble, Operation, Battleship, Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Pony, Transformers, and Monopoly Googly Bands, which are expected to land on store shelves this month. Hasbro-branded Googly Bands are expected to be sold at mass market, specialty, party, food, and drug stores.
The Sharpe Company Named Licensing Agency for The Gruffalo
The Sharpe Company has been picked to represent The Gruffalo property in North American on behalf of Magic Light Pictures. Targeting to readers aged 3 to 7, The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Schfeller, tells the magical story of a mouse who takes a stroll through the woods in search of a nut and has to use his wits to outsmart predators by creating an imaginary monster who then turns out to be too real.
The book was first published in the UK in 1999. In 2006, Penguin U.S. published The Gruffalo and its sequel The Gruffalo’s Child. This holiday season U.S. viewers will be treated to the first-ever stateside broadcast of the half-hour animated TV movie based on the book, to be broadcast on ABC Family Channel as part of its “25 Days of Christmas” block. A second half-hour film based on The Gruffalo’s Child is currently in production.
Sharpe is actively seeking U.S. licensing partners in all categories, including plush, stationery, giftware, greetings cards, calendars, apparel, nightwear, bedding, puzzles, and games.
Vivid Named Master Toy Licensee for Everything’s Rosie
Vivid has signed master toy rights for preschool sensation Everything’s Rosie, the Cbeebies girls series from V&S Entertainment.
Vivid’s Rosie toy range will incorporate unique interactivity and play elements from the TV series, with feature plush, interactive and musical toys, and push-along vehicles. Other products in the Rosie toy line will include jigsaw puzzles in a box, selected games, and collectibles.
Vivid plans to reveal the range to retail customers and international partners at Olympia previews for its July launch.
GreenLight Signs Deal for IndyCar Die-Casts
GreenLight Collectibles has signed a licensing agreement with the Izod IndyCar Series. This deal allows GreenLight to produce 1:18-scale replicas of cars that will be running in the 2011 season. The line will include a variety of drivers in limited production runs, starting with the 2010 Indianapolis 500 winner car, Dario Franchitti. These replicas will be available at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, trackside vendors, and hobby shops across the globe. Previously, GreenLight was the primary die-cast manufacturer for the IndyCar series through 2008.
Left Behind Games Acquires Cloud 9 Games
Left Behind Games, Inc. has acquired the assets of Christian video game publisher Cloud 9 Games. Cloud 9 Games’ products are currently distributed by EMI, the largest distributor of Christian music in the world. Cloud 9 Games can be purchased through many Christian retailers such as Family Christian Stores, Parable, Berean, Mardel, and Lifeway.
Random House to Create Book Line for Generator Rex
Random House Children’s Books has signed on to create a full line of books based on Generator Rex. Random House will launch their book program next summer with a Step into Reading leveled reader and a deluxe 3-D storybook. Additional readers, storybooks, and activity books will follow. Random House joins other Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE) partners, including Hallmark for party goods and social expression, Activision for interactive, and more. Additional partners for the brand will continue to be announced in the coming weeks.
McNeill Designs and Imagine Nation Books Sign Nationwide Distribution Agreement
Delaware-based game development firm McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds recently announced that a license agreement has been reached with Imagine Nation Books (INB) of Boulder, Colorado. The agreement will include the distribution of 40,000 units of the firm’s language game You’ve been Sentenced!
According to McNeill, the inclusion of You’ve been Sentenced! into the INB product mix is the next logical step in the game’s evolution. Over the years he has seen the game go from a “family fun night” staple to an innovative, educational tool.
2010 Hess Toy Truck Launches November 12
Hess Corporation has announced the newest addition to its line of toy trucks, the 2010 Hess Toy Truck and Jet. The product marks the first time in the collection’s history that a jet aircraft has been part of a Hess Toy Truck set.
The 2010 Hess Toy Truck and Jet hits store shelves Friday, November 12 at participating Hess and Hess Express retail stores.
Loaded with chrome detailing, the product’s 14-wheeler tractor trailer features a flatbed trailer with hydraulic lift and runway lights that doubles as a launch pad for the accompanying high-powered jet. The toy also marks the first time the company has used motion-activated sound in a Hess Toy Truck.
JTMG Signs New Licensees for The Boondock Saints
Joy Tashjian Marketing Group (JTMG) has signed a number of licensing deals in several categories for The Boondock Saints brand. The new deals include Aquarius Entertainment Merchandising for calendars, playing cards, and jigsaw puzzles; Rabbit Tanaka Corporation for lamps, mirrors, and wall clocks; and Innfusion, Inc. / 12 Gauge Comics for comic books and graphic novels. JTMG is the exclusive licensing representative for The Boondock Saints franchise.
Play Imaginative Inks Deal for Care Bears-Branded Toys and More
American Greetings Properties (AGP) and licensing agent Medialink Brand Management have announced a deal with Play Imaginative for a new series of Care Bears Trexi figurines in Singapore. Trexi is a three-inch character toy complete with a rotating head and limbs. Introduced in 2004, Trexi has seen collaborations with celebrated designers and corporate brands such as Coca-Cola, Canon, Motorola, and Nike. Additionally, Play Imaginative is also releasing Care Bears-branded notebooks, notepads, mouse pads, postcard sets, scheduling books, and folders.
Summit Toys Introduces Patch Program to Reward Young Explorers
Summit Toys is introducing a new feature for its Backyard Safari Outfitters brand. The company’s Patch Program will allow young explorers to receive collectible patches as a reward after completing adventures. Select Backyard Safari Outfitters toys will be equipped with a colorful, detailed Pop-Up Field Guide that features an in-the-field mission related to the toy’s specific play pattern. Once each item on the mission checklist is completed, kids can then iron on the embroidered patch and show it off to friends and family. Patches include the Bug Wrangler patch for identifying live specimens in the field and the Expedition Two patch for going out on the trail with the Backyard Safari Hiking Stick. The Patch Program will be introduced in the spring line of Backyard Safari Outfitters.
Revell to Launch Model-Building Contest
Revell, Inc. is teaming up with Speed Channel series Stacey David’s GearZ for a model-building contest. The inaugural Revell/GearZ National Model Car Championship contest asks entrants to build a new Revell or Monogram brand Hot Rod model between January 15 and May 15 and send an entry form and photos to the judges via the GearZ website (www.gearztv.com) or Revell website (www.revell.com), or by mailing it in before May 15. Judges will include Stacey David, host and executive producer of Stacey David’s GearZ, as well as editors of model car magazines, and more.
Entries will be critiqued by the judging panel on a 100-point scale in the following categories: creativity/originality; use of the Revell/Monogram kit; adherence to the theme, hot rods, and product list provided; fit/finish; and use of color. There will be a total of six winners. Winners will be selected on or about June 15.
In addition to awards and prizes from Revell, Testors, Coast Airbrush and Iwata, model car magazines, and GearZ, images of the winners’ models will be shown on an episode of Stacey David’s GearZ.
Sesame Workshop Promotes Four, Names New VP of Licensing
Sesame Workshop has promoted Maura Regan to senior vice president and general manager of global consumer products, reporting to Sherrie Westin, EVP and CMO. Regan will oversee global retail business across all major categories of licensed goods including toys, packaged goods, apparel, home furnishings, stationery, and gifts.
The company has also promoted Scott Chambers to senior vice president, worldwide media distribution; Mike Khouri to vice president, home video and audio distribution; and Jennifer Perry to vice president of publishing.
Chambers, who joined Sesame Workshop is 2002, will be responsible for supervising all aspects of the digital, traditional, and mobile media businesses worldwide, including publishing, interactive, television, home video, and audio.
Khouri, who joined Sesame in 2006 as assistant vice president of retail strategy and business development, is now responsible for supervising all aspects of home video and audio businesses domestically and internationally.
Perry, who joined the company in 2005 from Scholastic, is now responsible for supervising all aspects of the publishing business at the Workshop, domestically and internationally, including the Sesame Workshop Publishing Archive.
Additionally, Jessica Giat has been named vice president of licensing, partner relations, reporting into Regan. Giat will be responsible for managing Sesame Workshop’s master toy licensee—coordinating activities on a world-wide basis, analyzing activities by territory, and monitoring the overall account with a global perceptive. She will also work closely with the education and research team.
Mega Appoints New President, Stationery & Activities
Mega Brands, Inc. has appointed Thomas W. Prichard as president, stationery & activities. He is responsible for leading the corporation’s strategic initiatives in a broad range of creative products marketed under the Rose Art and Board Dudes brands, and is based with the stationery & activities team in Irvine, Calif. Prichard has more than 20 years of experience in senior executive roles with leading companies in children's products, including Crayola, Pixar Animation Studios, LeapFrog Enterprises, and Hasbro. Most recently Prichard was president of Backyard Leisure Holdings.
Big Idea Names New Top-Level Execs
Big Idea Entertainment has appointed VeggieTales Co-Creator and Vice President of Development Mike Nawrocki to executive vice president of Big Idea Entertainment Studios. In his new role, Nawrocki will give oversight and leadership to all Big Idea productions. As co-creator of VeggieTales and voice of Larry The Cucumber, Nawrocki has created, written, and directed most of the “Silly Songs with Larry” segments.
In addition, Big Idea Entertainment has hired Mark Steele, president and executive creative of Steelehouse Productions, to the newly created role of chief of creative affairs, Big Idea Entertainment. Steele brings almost 20 years of experience in writing, directing, and production to Big Idea where he will contribute to the creative development process behind the VeggieTales series within Big Idea Studios.
A2 Entertainment Retains Allied Red Executives
A Squared Entertainment (A2) has expanded its team by hiring industry veterans, Sandi Isaacs and Laurie Windrow from Allied Red, the brand management and licensing representation firm. Isaacs and Windrow will oversee consumer products for A2’s portfolio of brands, including Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaire’s Club, Gisele Bundchen’s Gisele & the Green Team, Martha Stewart’s Martha & Friends, and the company’s new multimedia comic book label, Stan Lee Comics.
Isaacs and Windrow will be responsible for developing A2’s portfolio of original entertainment into an array of consumer products including toys, games, apparel, digital platforms, and more.
Isaacs is the president of Allied Red and the former senior vice president of Paramount Digital Entertainment. Windrow is the vice president of licensing at Allied Red and the former director of global licensing at Mega Brands.
Craft & Hobby Association Elects Board Officers
The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Board of Directors has elected the CHA board officers for the 2011 term. The board includes Larry Olliges, president of Dee’s Crafts, as CHA board chair; Mark Peters, executive vice president & COO of iLoveToCreate, as CHA board vice-chair; and Mike Birkholm, president of Darice Inc., as CHA board secretary. CHA board chair from 2008 – 2010 Mike McCooey, also president and CEO of Plaid Enterprises, Inc., will remain on the CHA board of directors as immediate past chair. The new CHA Board officers were elected during the October board of directors meeting.
LeapFrog Q3 Sales Increased 23 Percent
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. has reported its financial results for the third quarter, which ended September 30. Net sales for the quarter were $138 million, up 23 percent compared to $111.9 million for the same quarter in 2009. The company attributes the increase to strong Leapster Explorer sales, continued strength in the learning toy line, and broader retail distribution. Net sales from the United States segment for the quarter were $110.8 million, up 23 percent compared to $89.9 million for the same quarter in 2009. Net sales from the international segment were $27.2 million for the quarter, up 23 percent compared to $22.1 million a year ago. Income from operations for the quarter was $16.2 million, an improvement of $7.2 million, or 79 percent, compared to $9.1 million a year ago.
Build-A-Bear Reports Third Quarter, Nine Months Results
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. reported results for the 2010 third quarter and first nine months, which ended October 2. For the third quarter, total revenues were $100.1 million, compared to $92.3 million in the fiscal 2009 third quarter. Net retail sales were $91.7 million, an increase of $2 million, or 2.2 percent compared to $89.7 million in last year’s third quarter. For the first nine months, total revenues were $275.7 million, compared to $272.8 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2009 (39 weeks ended October 3, 2009). Total revenues included $5.8 million from a single wholesale transaction. Net retail sales were $264 million, a decrease of $3.4 million, or 1.3 percent compared to $267.4 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2009.
Gymboree and Bain Capital Begin Tender Offer
The Gymboree Corporation and Bain Capital Partners, LLC has announced that Giraffe Acquisition Corporation, which is a corporation controlled by Bain Capital, has commenced the previously announced tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Gymboree at a price of $65.40 per share, net to the seller in cash without interest. Pursuant to the merger agreement, after completion of the tender offer and the satisfaction or waiver of all conditions, Giraffe Acquisition Corporation will merge with and into The Gymboree Corporation. If the tender offer is successfully completed, Gymboree expects the transaction to close by year-end. The tender offer and withdrawal rights are scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, November 22, unless extended or earlier terminated.
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