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Business

M&A & Legal

Penske Media (owner of WWD, Variety, Hollywood Life, Deadline.com, and Robb Report) acquires a controlling stake in Rolling Stone. The magazine-based brand celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017; it has grown into a multi-platform property that covers celebrity, pop culture, and politics.

HSN and QVC are now under one roof as the former’s parentco Liberty Interactive completes its aquisition of the latter. The two will continue to operate as seperate brands. QVC Group is expected to become an asset-backed stock in early 2018.

Funko aquires U.K.-based animation company A Large Evil Corporation, which will now operate under the name Funko Animation Studios.

Kids@Play is sold to industry veteran and Added Smile’s Nathaniel Southworth. Malcolm Evans will work full-time with Southworth during 2018 to affect a comprehensive handover of the day-to-day running of the business. Evans will then assume the position of Chairman of the Board.

Bay Tek Games aquires boutique licensing and branding firm Dimensional Branding Group (DBG). The designer and manufacturer of amusement games will incorporate DBG as one of its divisions; the aquisition is expected to be a step towards Bay Tek’s transformation into a multi-platform entertainment company.

The Home Depot purchases textiles and home décor products retailer The Company Store from parent Hanover Direct. The deal doesn’t include any physical stores.

Nickelodeon joins major studios like Warner Bros. and 21st Century Fox in a $30-million Series B financing round for location-based VR startup Dreamscape Immersive. The startup will produce a VR experience based on Nick properties. Its flagship VR center is expected to open to the public at Westfield Century City Mall in L.A. in 2018.

Norwegian developer Funcom takes on $10.6 million in new funding, in part to fund a licensing push through a new company, Heroic Signatures. It will hold and manage the interactive rights to IP including Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane, and Mutant Chronicles.

IMG completes its acquisition of global museum exhibition producer Exhibitions Intl. The business—which includes King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, Pompeii: The Exhibition, and Mummies of the World—will now sit within IMG’s events division with Arts & Entertainment.

Elie Tahari and Bluestar Alliance joinhands to form new joint venture company, TBH Brand Holdings. Elie Tahari will contribute the IP for his Tahari and T Tahari brands while Bluestar will handle their day-to-day management and licensing worldwide. The new company will also manage the core Elie Tahari trademark, with a focus on expanding the brand’s global presence and opening Elie Tahari retail boutiques throughout the world.

Seperately, Elie Tahari, Arthur Levine, and Les Schreiber, form a new joint venture company, TASL Brand Holdings, for the Tahari ASL trademark. Levine will continue to spearhead the growth of Tahari ASL.

Spotify confidentially files for an initial public offering. The music streaming service is targeting a direct listing in the first half of 2018. The company has been valued at around $19 billion.

Legal Battles

Designer Christian Siriano officially breaks ties with licensee and wholesaler M&A Imports in a deal set to expire later this year for ladies’ dresses, girls’ dresses, intimates, and sleepwear. M&A sued Soriano in Nov. 2017 for over $10 million—and now the designer is counter-suing on a trademark infringement claim, stating that M&A breached its agreement by producing unapproved or inferior garments. The case is Christian Siriano Holdings, LLC v. M&A Imports, Ltd., 1:18-cv-00055 (SDNY).

Maverick Apparel is threatening legal action against YouTuber Logan Paul, for, among other things, trademark infringement. The apparel company alleges damages of approximately $4 million thanks to consumer confusion with Maverick by Logan Paul merchandise.

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