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M&A & Marketing

Disney looks to raise its ownership stake in Disneyland Paris to 85.7% after cutting a deal to buy the interest held by another Euro Disney investor, Kingdom Holding Co. The company plans to buy out remaining shares and invest up to $1.6 billion in the park to improve conditions, which has been struggling with attendance figures following the Nov. 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. This year marks the park’s 25th anniversary.

Disney and Google cut ties with PewDiePie after the YouTube star made several antisemitic remarks in videos and posts in a move that is expected to hurt all parties financially. For example, PewDiePie is removed from the Google YouTube Preferred advertising program, which was relying heavily on PewDiePie to push the brand. Forbes estimates that the social media star earned $12 million in 2015 alone—more pre-tax than Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz, and Anne Hathaway. Disney is connected to PewDiePie through Maker Studios, a firm boasting a network of YouTube stars.

Mattel expands its partnership with Alibaba Group; the toyco will develop, market, and sell playthings specifically designed for Chinese consumers. Mattel toys will be sold on Alibaba’s online marketplace. The company will collaborate with Alibaba’s A.I. Lab to develop new products rooted in tech and interactive learning, and leverage Alibaba’s media ecosystem to make branded learning resources and educational content. The deal allows for Mattel to tap into an e-commerce platform that boasts 440 million active buyers and provides Mattel with a foothold into more rural Chinese markets, as the country’s multi-billion-dollar toy category remains fragmented.

Mattel taps Publicis Groupe to continue running its U.S. media business in a move calculated to increase its digital platform presence. Mediavest | Spark will now handle planning and offline buying, while DigitasLBi runs digital media, programmatic buying and content production. The business will be run out of their Chicago and Los Angeles offices under the name “Team Mattel.”

Taco Bell Canada partners with celebrity designer Hayley Elsaesser to launch an exclusive TaCoat, the first winter coat inspired by Taco Bell’s signature dish. Consumers will have the chance to win the TaCoat beginning Feb. 21st.

Sears looks to cut $1 billion in costs from its operations this year through a restructuring program. The retailer will consolidate Sears and Kmart corporate and support functions; integrate sourcing, pricing, supply chain, and inventory management functions; focus on profitable, high-return categories of merchandise in its store-level product assortments; and prune its real estate portfolio. The targeted $1 billion includes proceeds from the sale of Craftsman as well as savings from the closing of 108 Kmart units and 42 Sears stores.

Sanrio teams up with the U.K. holiday resort Butlins to bring its cast of Mr Men and Little Miss characters to three destinations across the U.K. The three year partnership includes costume character meet and greets, Mr Men and Little Miss silent cinema screenings to daily live shows, and a host of goodies for youngsters and families to buy on site.

Ski performance brand Spyder makes a two-year deal with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media for a new line of ski items. The collection, which has been inspired by the Marvel superheroes, will boast racesuites and skiwear that will be worn by men and women in the U.S. Ski Team.


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