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Business

M&A & Legal

Four months after Rodale put itself up for sale, Hearst snaps up the publisher. The purchase is expected to be completed in early 2018, involves both Rodale’s book group and its larger magazine division, and is worth at under $225 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hearst currently runs a small book operation and Rodale recently launched a kid’s book imprint this fall; it is unclear how they will interact.

Funko files for an IPO with a raft of blue chip bankers on board to assist with the offering. The Class A shares are to be traded under the ticker symbol FNKO on the NASDAQ exchange.

Australia’s key fashion industries, the designer-focused Australian Fashion Chamber and the top body for the clothing, textile, and footwear industries, Council of Textile & Fashion, merge. The non-profits will benefit from having established offices in the country’s two largest cities and a combined membership that spans the entire Australian fashion and textile industry value chain.

Toys ‘R’ Us is “exploring options” for its growing Asian business, including a potential IPO, according to Bloomberg. The toy chain’s recent bankruptcy only involved its North American businesses; an IPO of the Asian unit would allow TRU’s private equity owners to recoup some of their investment by selling shares in a business that’s still doing well. TRU and local joint venture partner, the Fung brothers, have been speaking with investment banks to study the feasibility of listing the Asian business. A deal could value the unit at as much as $2 billion. Euromonitor Intl. estimates that TRU’s approximately 130 stores held 20% of 2016’s share of sales of dolls, action figures, puzzles, and other products that lack a video-game component in Asia Pacific.

After investing $500 million in Snap in March, NBCUniversal is partnering with the social media company on a new digital content studio that will develop IP and franchises for a mobile-first audience.

Canadian studio Kew Media Group acquires a stake in London-based Awesome Media & Entertainment.

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana and Discovery Communications form a yet-unnamed venture to produce new content for the kids’ market in Canada, Latin America, and around the world. Based in Canada, the venture is dedicated to premium children’s content across linear and digital platforms.

Subscription apparel box service Stitch Fix files an IPO. The service offers women’s, men’s, and plus sizes, counting 2.2 million active clients and $977.1 million in net sales (up 34%) in 2016. The company uses a combination of AI and human stylists to send customers a personalized box of five looks to try on at home. Stitch Fix hints that it might acquire complementary businesses with offering funds.

In other fashion news, Walmart and Jet.com are courting Hudson’s Bay’s Lord & Taylor chain to create an affiliate “trusted partner” relationship where the retailers would list products on their websites and L&T would fulfill orders, according to WWD. However, the final decision on what brands will be available are up to the brand owners—and without permission, its likely that they will cut L&T off as a vendor. Walmart’s push to enter the higher-end fashion market includes acquisitions of Jet.com, Moosejaw, Bonobos, and ShoeBuy—and it might work, as brands seem more willing to sell on these online marketplaces.

Legal

Adidas files an opposition to ELEAGUE’s trademark application—specifically, Dot Esports reports, its “E” logo, which consists of three lines.

Disney files suit against New York-based Characters for Hire for its “unlicensed and poor-quality appearances and performances.” The lawsuit claims that the costumed actors represent a violation of both its copyrights and trademark rights. The smaller company bit back, responding that its “use of characters from Norse mythology, such as Thor and Loki, or centuries-old fairy tales and folk tales, like Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Aladdin, and Princess Aurora”—just like Disney’s—is well within the public domain.

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