* Hong Kong-based Sunco has signed with Pepsi to produce a line of Pepsi-branded merchandise including yo-yos, bubble toys and soft sport toys. The company will produce toys for North America, the U.K., Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Mexico, France, Italy, Sweden, Hong Kong and the Philippines. The deal was arranged through New Jersey-based Bradford Licensing Associates.
* Just in time for next month’s prom, Fox licensing and merchandising is introducing a killer new line of prom dresses inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Priced from US$124 to US$148, the dresses are available at Nordstrom’s, Rampage and Patricia Fields stores. The dresses are part of the Buffy junior apparel line launched last fall.
* Disney has been ordered to pay the owner of French comic book character Marsupilami US$9.3 million for neglecting to promote and merchandise the property. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found that Disney defaulted on an agreement to produce a 13 x 30-minute animated series based on the character, mismanaged the merchandising campaign by attempting to license the property without the show, and never attempted to bring a network onboard to air it. The property’s France-based owner, Marsu, was awarded US$8.4 million for lost profits and US$900,000 in lawyers’ fees.
* PBS and United Media have reached a ‘mutual agreement’ to terminate a contract signed in 1995 making UM the licensing agent for the PBS logo and P-Pals animated characters, according to a PBS spokesman. As of press time, the public broadcaster was in negotiations to secure a replacement agent.
* Munich-based MM Merchandising M-nchen has acquired worldwide merchandising rights for new clay animation series Bronny Bear. The 26 x five-minute series was co-produced by Munich’s Telepool, Hamburg’s Anima Studio and NDR, and launched at MIP-TV last month. The show was conceived by Bettina Matthaei and Alexander Zapletal, the team behind the popular clay animated preschool series Plonsters, also being marketed by MM.
* HIT Consumer Products has brought on Amsterdam-based Telescreen to oversee licensing in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The division of Palm Plus Holdings will handle some publishing rights and all licensing, merchandising and promotional rights for HIT’s catalog of properties in those countries.
* EM.TV & Merchandising has adopted Pikachu and friends now that Pokémon is rolling out across Europe. The series debuted on the U.K.’s Sky TV in March, and launches on Germany’s RTL2 and Italy’s MediaSet in September. EM will handle all L&M for the property in German-speaking territories.
* France’s premiere licensing company V.I.P. has signed three new agreements for kids shows that are debuting on the French tube later this year. The properties include: The Princess of the Nile, a new 26 x half-hour series for the eight to 10 crowd that launches on France 2 in the fall; and Nelvana preschool hits Arthur (which begins airing on France 3 this fall before debuting on the video market for Christmas) and Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear, which is coming soon to Teletoon.