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Business

M&A And Lawsuits

Jet.com, which was acquired by Walmart for $3.3 billion in September, buys out apparel and accessories site Shoebuy.com for $70 million from IAC. The e-tailer is a direct competitor of Amazon.The United Kingdom Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) approves VTech‘s acquisition of educational toy firm LeapFrog, stating that the deal will not lead to competition concerns.

Gildan Activewear is the winner in a court-supervised auction to acquire the American Apparel brand and certain assets with a final cash bid of $88 million. The acquisition is expected to be finalized by early Feb.

Authentic Brands Group re-opens more than 500 Aéropostale retail locations across the U.S.

In beauty news: L’Oréal agrees to spend $1.3 billion to buy three skin-care brands from Valeant (CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi), Coty will acquire a majority stake in direct-to-consumer brand Younique for $600 million, and private equity firm Main Post Partners makes an undisclosed investment in Milk Makeup.

Funko is making changes to position itself for a possible initial public offering or sale to a “strategic partner,” according to CEO Brian Mariotti. Funko expects its sales to come in at around $425 million for 2016, up from $274 million in 2015, $107 in 2014, and $40 million in 2013.

The winners of the 2017 LIMA Asian Licensing Awards were announced, with honors going to DreamWorks‘ Kung Fu Panda 3 for Best Entertainment Property of the Year, as well as Master Kong for Best Licensed Promotion of the Year and Chengdu Intl. Finance Square for Best Location-based or Experiential Initiative of the Year for their work with the brand. In addition, Alibaba was awarded Best Retailer of the Year; B.Duck from SEMK Intl. Enterprises was Best Asian Property of the Year; and GS Retail was Best Licensee of the Year for Despicable Me/Minions. The Smiley Co. was Best Corporate Brand/Fashion/Lifestyle Program of the Year.

Run-D.M.C. files a lawsuit against Walmart, Amazon, Jet and other retailers for over $50 million over alleged trademark infringement on products using the hip hop group’s name and logo without permission. While some products are “inspired”, others blatantly used the group’s logo on shirts, purses, patches and other products. Run-D.M.C.’s claim cites previous licensing agreements to show its worth, including one for $1.6 million to Adidas for a line of sneakers. The group contends that its brand produced over $100 million in revenue since its inception in the 1980s, including the sale of music, music publishing, concerts, merchandising, and endorsement deals.

Walker Fine Art, a leading collector of works by M.C. Escher, brings suit against the M.C. Escher Foundation, which licenses reproduction rights for the artist’s work. Walker alleges that the Foundation had blocked the collector from selling original artworks and staging exhibitions through misuse of copyright.

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