Kidz Entertainment’s M&A streak not over yet
Licensing agencies Kidz Entertainment and EEMC are moving forward with a merger that gives them access to new markets and renewed resources. Management of the combined entity will be handled out of Kidz Entertainment’s headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the new venture plans to capitalize on opportunities in growing Eastern European markets for brand marketing and merchandise. This move comes on the heels of Kidz inking a deal with Finnish company Pro Licensing to create Kidz Entertainment Finland at the end of last year.
The company’s clients in the Nordic region include MGA Entertainment, HIT Entertainment and Hasbro. Based in New York, EEMC has established licensing programs in Eastern European markets for licensor partners including DIC Entertainment, Hallmark and Nickelodeon.
Chorion widens the teen fashion footprint of Mr. Men and Little Miss
Expanding the program for classic kids book property Mr. Men and Little Miss this fall, Chorion has racked up three new soft lines licensees for mid-tier retail. Daywear manufacturer Briefly Stated will release a range of junior sleepwear and undies for back-to-school, while ES Originals rolls out fashion stationery, handbags, totes and backpacks for teens, and Freeze launches trendy T-shirts for juniors and young adults. An impending animated sketch comedy series should help invigorate the brand with younger consumers when it launches in fall ’08 (see ‘Cool New Shows’ on page 88), and the Chorion consumer products team is no doubt ramping up a comprehensive merch program in support.
Top juvenile products trade show opens its doors to mass-market buyers and licensors
As JPMA prepares to bow out of the trade show game after its swan-song event this month, juvenile product manufacturers are already flocking to an alternative venue for selling to retailers. Enter the ABC Kids Expo, a four-year-old event that attracted 10,000 attendees and was singled out as one of the fastest-growing North American trade shows by Tradeshow Week last year.
ABC Kids was traditionally set up as a show for specialty retailers only, but the event’s organizers have decided to open up to mass-market buyers and licensors for the first time this year to fill a market need in the wake of JPMA’s exit. But the first two days of the 2007 show, which takes place in Las Vegas from September 7 to 10, will still be exclusively set aside for manufacturers and specialty retail players.
Larry Schur, president of All Baby & Child, which produces the event, says attendance of apparel and toy manufacturers has been on the rise for the past couple of years, and he anticipates seeing a lot more licensed product on the show floor this year with the entry of licensors. Among last year’s attendees were Fisher-Price, LeapFrog Enterprises, RC2 Brands and Baby Einstein, all of which do a considerable amount of business with licensed product.