Following a tumultuous year in which Just Group chairman Wilf Shorrocks was dismissed for reasons connected to the company’s temporary suspension from the London Stock Exchange, Just has lifted its head from the ashes, announcing a proposed merger with Brit rights management and distribution outfit Target. The new entity is awaiting government and shareholder approval, but should be up and running later this month.
Just brings consumer licensing experience and a proven property in Butt-Ugly Martians to the table, and the merger will allow Target to piggyback on Just’s publicly-owned status, a move that Target has been pondering for the past year.
Besides the Martians, another Just property that will likely be targeted for expansion is Jellabies, which continues to generate a great deal of consumer awareness from its European broadcast platforms (Fox Kids UK and Germany’s Super RTL). The steam went out of a planned international push for the property when Just’s troubles began in January.
In addition to Target’s fledgling kids animated offerings–a 2-D version of its Popstars format and a preschool toon called Wannabeez (search Wannabeez at www.kidscreen.com for more info)–Rayson says the merged outfit will work to exploit three other kids properties, as well as a new format from Australia that she describes as a reality version of Charlie’s Angels.