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Inside Licensing News and Notes, May 16, 2017 image

Inside Licensing News and Notes, May 16, 2017

Pony Lifestyle Footwear to Relaunch After Dispute Resolution

Unlimited Brand Group is readying a broad relaunch of Pony lifestyle footwear in June, having resolved a contract dispute with the brand’s owner, Iconix Brand Group, Iconix executives told analysts. Iconix paid $37 million in 2015 in taking 75% ownership of the Pony brand with Unlimited getting the remaining 25% and perpetual licensing rights for North America and Canada. Pony footwear had some distribution through Barney’s stores and Urban Outfitters last year but “we weren’t really doing any volume” until after the contract issues were resolved and a broader product line developed, Iconix CEO John Haugh said.

Iconix’s men’s business posted a 20% decline in revenue in Q1 ended March 31 to $10.1 million, with about half the decrease tied to the Starter business that was “downsized” at Walmart, Haugh said. Iconix is developing new strategies for Starter this year, including licensee G-III Apparel’s  Starter Black line, sales of which are expected to double. The Starter Black collection also is being extended into collegiate licensing.

Iconix’s Q1 net income narrowed to $4.4 million from $14.6 million as revenue declined 13% to $58.7 million. The quarter didn’t include $1.4 million in revenue from the Sharper Image brand, which was sold late last year. Royalty payments from Global Brands Group topped Iconix’s list of licensees at $3.2 million, up from $815,000. Global licenses several brands from Iconix, including Buffalo David Bitton.


Iconix Brand Group, David Jones, Chief Financial Officer, 212- 730-0030,


Beanstalk is representing Yildiz Holdings in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and China as the company shifts for the first time to an agency for licensing its Godiva, McVitie biscuits, Flipz chocolate-covered pretzels and Turtles chocolate-covered pecans.  Yildiz previously handled licensing internally focusing on Godiva, which has had a “handful” of  licenses in the past, including one for ice cream., says Beanstalk’s Linda Morgenstern.  Yildiz’s McVite, Flipz and Turtles are available for licensing for the first time …. Evolution is representing videogame publisher tinyBuild Games for licensing it prepares “Hello Neighbor” title this summer and seeks deals for toys, apparel and novelty items. TinyBuild, which working with developer Dynamic Pixels, released a test version of the horror game earlier this month that features artificial intelligence. TinyBuild is best known as the publisher of DoubleDutch’s SpeedRunner digital game that sold more than 600,000 units…. Nelvana is handling licensing in Canada for Entertainment One’ss PJ Masks, with the first products expected to arrive in spring 2018. Just Play is the brand’s global master toy licensee, and has been joined by Amscan (party products), Disguise (costumes), Franco Manufacturing (bedding) and others.  Nelvana also is eOne’s agent for Peppa Pig in Canada.  PJ Masks airs on Disney Junior and La Chaine Disney in Canada…Prominent Brand + Talent is handling licensing for Dan Tana’s as the iconic West Hollywood restaurant seeks to expand its brand into sauces, pastas, olive oil, wine and spirits. The first products, including a coffee table book, are slated to arrive in 2018.  Dan Tana also is seeking licensing agreements for new restaurants in Asia and Europe.


Entertainment One, Joan Grasso, VP Licensing North America, 212-353-8800,

Evolution, Travis Rutherford, Partner/Chief Revenue Officer, 818-501-3186,

TinyBuild Games, Luke Burtis, Managing Dir., 425-417-5241

Beanstalk, Linda Morgenstern, VP Brand Management,  561-447-6607,,

Prominent Brand + Talent, Daniel Levin, Owner,  310-220-9990,

Yildiz Holding, Cem Karakas, Executive Deputy Chairman, +90 216 524 29 00


Macy’s Counting on DTRs, Exclusives

Macy’s is moving to make exclusives or direct-to-retail deals a “much higher percentage” of its business, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts. The deal creating a department store exclusive for Macy’s for DKNY women’s apparel, men’s outerwear and swimwear is among the first G-III Apparel has struck since buying Donna Karan International and DKNY late last year. Macy’s is seeking to differentiate itself with an array of capsule, exclusive or DTR collections as it battles to halt sagging sales. It also unveiled plans to launch a Popsicle-themed line of apparel  under its I.N.C. private label brand chainwide this week as part of a licensing agreement with brand owner Unilever. The 20-piece collection will be available through the summer.


Macy’s, Karen Hoguet, Chief Financial Officer, 513-579-7000,

Tony Roma’s Signs New Licensee

Romacorp signs a new licensing agreement for Tony Roma’s ribs and pulled meats with its long-time food service supplier , meat processor Ruprecht Co., replacing Rupari Co. The company’s agreement with Rupari was terminated March 27, two weeks before Rupari filed for bankruptcy protection. Romacorp claimed in court documents that Rupari violated some terms of the licensing agreement. Rupari, which first signed a licencing agreement with Romacorp in 2007, responded that Romacorp “unlawfully” tried to terminate a portion of the pact that gives it exclusive distribution rights to Tony Roma-branded pork products in some territories.  Ruprecht is expected to deliver the first of the Tony Roma’s products to retail by the fall.  “Ruprecht was a natural fit for us” given its work with the Tony Roma’s restaurants, says Romacorp Chief Marketing Officer Jim Rogers. Romacorp also has a licensing agreement with Country Cooked Meats to supply Tony Roma’s ribs and pulled meats in Australia, with the first products to launch at nine Costco stores there in June, says Rogers.  It also has a pact with Greystar for barbeque sauces. The deal with Ruprecht was brokered by the Broad Street Licensing Group.


Broad Street Licensing, Bill Cross, VP Business Development, 973- 655-0598 x12,

Romacorp, Jim Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer, 214-343-7800,

Ruprecht Co., Walter Sommers, Pres., 312-829-4100

Slumping Licenses Hit Inventure Snack Foods

Inventure Foods snack food business posted a 5.1% gain in revenue to $26.2 million in Q1 ended April 1, despite a 9.1% drop in revenue from its licensed TGI Fridays and Nathan’s Famous brands, company executives told analysts. Revenue from TGI Fridays potato chips, nuts and pretzels fell 5.8%. In the frozen foods business, sales of Jamba Juice At Home smoothie kits fell 20%, due to fewer promotions and the absence of last year’s warehouse club program  , company officials said.


Terry McDaniel, CEO, 623-932-6200,

Endemol Shine Building U.S. Program for Simon’s Cat

Endemol Shine is readying a broad licensing program for the animated cartoon “Simon’s Cat”, building on the majority stake it purchased in the property two years ago. Endemol is seeking to expand Simon’s Cat, founded by animator Simon Tofield in 2008 as a YouTube series, in the U.S. into publishing, accessories, toys and games from its base in digital stickers(Bare Tree Media), card games (Steve Jackson Games) and branded credit cards ( Simon’s Cat got its start in licensing with a publishing deal with Canongate Books in the UK and moved into international markets with pet products, apparel and stationery. The licensing program outside the U.S. is handled by Endemol Opocos, which is seeking agents for Germany, France, Russia and Southeast Asia. The 52-episode YouTube series has 4.3 million subscribers.


Endemol Shine North America, Tamaya Petteway, SVP Integration and Partnerships, 310-860-9914,



Universal Re-Establishes Games Business

Universal Brand Development establishes a new games unit with an initial focus on publishing mobile games based on the studio’s IP, with plans to expand to other platforms. The first titles are expected later this year. The division will continue to license Universal IP to third party developers, a group that includes Electronic Arts, Ludia Games (Jurassic World), Kabam (Fast and Furious) and others.

The move represents a return by Universal to that business; it formed Universal Interactive Studios and released the first Jurassic World Interactive title for the 3DO media player in 1994. It also created such characters as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon before the business was sold to Vivendi in 2000.

The new organization will be headed by James Molinets, ex-Disney, senior VP of Production; Fabian Schonholz, ex-Internet Brands, SVP Technology and Operations and Timothy FitzRandolph, ex-Disney, VP Creative. It will report to Chris Heatherly, EVP Games and Digital Platforms. In addition, Bill Kispert, VP and General Manager for Interactive, shifts to General Manager for Business Development, while Executive Producer Pete Wanat switches to VP Production.


Universal Brand Development, Manuel Torres Port, EVP Worldwide Consumer Products, 818-777-5238,



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