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M&A & Partnerships

The Company acquires the assets of science and nature exploration products manufacturer Uncle Milton. The Company was formed in February, when Florida-based consumer products marketer The Bridge Direct merged with Canadian toy developer Tech 4 Kids. Uncle Milton’s brands include The Original Ant Farm, In My Room, Ever Wonder, and Star Wars Science. The Company will continue to operate Uncle Milton from its L.A. office, and a number of staff and senior leaders will stay on.

The Polaroid brand and related IP has a new owner in a group of investors led by the Smolokowski family. The new owners have purchased 100% of the shares from PLR IP Holdings, which is jointly owned by the Pohlad family, Gordon Brothers, Hilco Global, and others. Polaroid’s headquarters and management team will remain in Minnesota.

The Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) is rebranding as IMG College Licensing.

Maurizio Distefano Licensing and Biplano Licensing join forces to form BMD Licensing Partners, a strategic alliance for jointly managed brands within Continental Europe. Licensors will be able to take advantage of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all licensing-related activities, from brand development, TV placement, retail management, marketing support and promotional activities to production and premium supply, master toy management, and events.

Chinese internet giant Tencent continues its investment in U.S.-based game studio Pocket Gems to the tune of $90 million, bringing its equity up to 38%, according to the Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch, reporting seperately. It reportedly put $60 million in Pocket Gems in 2015 for a 20% stake. The game company is on track to $200 million in sales this year. The money raised will be spent scaling the business outwards to territories like China and up significantly from its current size of 220 staff.

J.C. Penney is expanding with a new B2B strategy, offering solutions for the hotel and lodging industry and the multi-unit industry.

Lionsgate is ordered to pay roughly $5.8 million to Jillian Michaels, fitness entrepreneur and former star of “The Biggest Loser.” Michaels signed a deal with the entertainment studio in 2007 to distribute fitness programming via physical DVDs and VOD channels. As part of the deal, she had the right to consult on distribution prior to any releases. But she filed a claim in 2015 after she noticed in 2010 that Lionsgate was featuring her videos on its BeFit YouTube channel. Although she was compensated $85,000, an arbitrator awarded her damages based on plummeting DVD sales and lowered brand value. The sum compensates Michaels for both past and future losses.

The Cartoonist Group, the Internet’s most diverse cartoon art database, expands its business capabilities with the launch of Cartoonist Group Licensing. Cartoon brands include editorial cartoonists Joel Pett, Ann Telnaes, Signe Wilkinson, and Matt Wuerker as well as the cartoons of Frank and Ernest and Speed Bump.

Forty rookies from the 2017 NFL Draft class met to learn the business of football at the 23rd annual NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Rookie Premiere. Over 20 NFLPA business partners were on site to create unique brand content, secure endorsement deals, and promote licensed products through group player rights.


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