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Business

Around the World—10/30/2017

Epic Rights and Pan Inc. will develop music artist and celebrity merchandising and branding opportunities in Japan together. Epic executives Lisa Streff and Dan Levin will manage the day-to-day business with Pan Inc.

American eSports organization Cloud9 has raised $25 million in Series A financing from companies and parties including WWE, the Beverly Hills Sports Council, Monumental Sports & Entertainment co-owner Raul Fernandez, Creative Artists Agency co-founder Michael Ovitz, venture capital firm Founders Fund, and a joint investment from tech investors David Sacks and Bill Lee.

Wizard World is launching an English-language streaming channel in China. The L.A. company, best known for producing fan events related to pop culture and comic books, is working with China’s CNLive on the new service. Available across mainland China, it will air on a 24-hour basis and be subscription-based.

Google Home adds more than 50 new kid-friendly games, activities, and stories to its line of smart speakers. Content partners include Disney and Sports Illustrated.

After 20 years of partnership, Adidas and AC Milan mutually agree to prematurely terminate their sponsorship deal at the end of the current season. The deal was signed in 1998 and expected to run through 2023. The football club confirmed it has already signed a new deal “with a sports manufacturer for a global technical sponsorship and dual branded licensing partnership” starting July 2018—but will disclose details only “in the coming months.” Contenders include Puma and Under Armour.

Asmodee North America and Fantasy Flight Games launch Fantasy Flight Interactive, a new development studio that will produce digital games based on the Fantasy Flight board game brands. Initial development is planned for the Steam platform, with others to follow. The new studio will be headed by Tim Gerritsen (BioShock Infinite, Prey, and Rune).

Privateer Press, maker of miniatures games Warmachine and Hordes, launches a direct-to-consumer product line for high-end, large-scale models. The company recently launched a monthly subscription miniatures program called MiniCrate.

The Smiley Company’s Rubik’s Cube joins forces with Red Bull to “give wings” to over a thousand Speedcubing events around the world. Red Bull will leverage the Rubik’s brand on its owned media platforms to attract exposure to the competitions, which will take place in 20 countries across 5 continents.

Former Scholastic employees Aimee Felone and David Stevens launch a new children’s publishing firm called Knights Of. The London-based company focuses on fiction for 5–15 year-olds and aims to promote diversity and inclusion. Initial titles will be announced early next year.

Hallmark opens its first hospital gift shop in partnership with The University of Kansas Health System. The shop includes gift collections from Vera Bradley, Willow Tree, and local vendors such as Made in KC, Something Sweet, and Teefey Flowers.

The United Soccer Leagues signs with The Promotions Dept. in a multi-year agreement that will allow USL clubs to develop team-branded promotional products to elevate their brands, create stadium atmosphere, and reward fans.

Fashion Forward

The global luxury goods industry is growing at a faster pace than forecast, mainly thanks to Millennials and Chinese shoppers—although almost all nationalities and geographies are growing. 2017 luxury goods revenues are expected to reach 1.16 trillion euros ($1.36 trillion) this year, a 5% increase at constant exchange, according to the Altagamma Worldwide Market Monitor 2017 and a study by Bain & Co. Similarly, the personal luxury sector will grow 5% to 262 billion euros ($304 billion). Bain expects sustained worldwide growth of 4–5% over the next 3 years and cites experience as key for luxury goods consumers, along with curated offers, content, and brand engagement.

JCPenney cuts its full-year forecast, citing sluggish clearance sales for its women’s apparel. The retailer expects its fiscal year comp results to range from -1% to 0%, after previously forecasting 1% growth.

Drew Barrymore launches a contemporary lifestyle brand called Dear Drew on Amazon Fashion. The collection includes apparel, handbags, jewelry, luggage, hair tools, lingerie, and loungewear, priced from $28 to $248.

Indian hosiery major Lux Industries is scouting for opportunities in licensing for global brands. Earlier this year, another hosiery company, Dollar Industries, inked a partnership with Pepe Jeans for producing and marketing innerwear in India.

Fashion influencer Chriselle Lim, together with Lauren Fong, launches CINC Studios, a studio that will create digital content for brands in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle spaces.

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