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Inside Licensing News and Notes May 4, 2017 image

Inside Licensing News and Notes May 4, 2017


Spin Master Buys Games Developer

Spin Master Corp. purchases bankrupt games company Marbles: The Brain Store for $2.5 million. Spin Master was the lone bidder for the company, which filed for bankruptcy in February citing a sharp decline in holiday sales that left it short of cash, according to court records. The acquisition includes the company’s brand name, e-commerce business and games, including 19 licensed products that were the chain’s top revenue generator in 2016 at $3.6 million, according to Hilco Streambank, which is handling Marble’s liquidation. Marble’s sales were $28 million in 2016, $21.5 million of which came from its 40 retail stores, Hilco said. The purchase doesn’t include the stores. Marbles Co-Founder and Chief Merchant Scott Brown is joining Spin Master, but the fate of the company’s 74 other full-time employees, including co-founders Karen Luby and Lindsey Gaskins, wasn’t disclosed.


Spin Master Corp., Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, 416- 364-6002 x2333,



Fanatics Closes on $225 Million Purchase of Majestic

Fanatics closed on its $225 million purchase of Majestic from VF Corp., further deepening its ties to Major League Baseball (MLB). Majestic is the supplier of on-field MLB uniforms, an agreement that expires in 2019, when it is replaced by Under Armour. But Fanatics received the MLB license to produce fan gear, including retail jerseys, name and number products and post-season apparel, a portion of which will be made at Majestic’s Palmer Township, PA factory. The deal completes VF’s shedding of its Licensed Sports Group (LSG). Majestic also has a license for Harley Davidson apparel that transfers to Fanatics, says a Fanatics spokesman. LSG generated $575 million in revenue for VF in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, and another $130 million in Q1 ended March 31, VF said.


Fanatics, Wade Whitehurst, Director, Fanatics Branded, 404-788-9307,


Party City Reportedly Weighing Bid to Take Company Private

Party City is weighing a bid from a private equity firm that would take the company private, Bloomberg reported. The 900-store chain, which largely is owned by Thomas Lee Partners (55%) and Advent International (19%), would be taken private in a leveraged buyout just two years after going public in a $428 million IPO. The chain has been buying up franchised locations in recent months, including 18 in January, while also acquiring product manufacturers, including costume maker Festival SA in Madagascar and stationery/party goods supplier Granmark in Mexico. A Party City spokeswoman declined to comment. Party City’s sales increased 1.2% in 2016 to $1.6 billion, but same-store sales declined 1.3%.


Party City, Deborah Belevan, VP Investor Relations 914-784-8324,


Coach Elevating Its Brand

Coach is using licensing to help “elevate” its brand, company executives told analysts. Coach, having cut back price promotions and focused on selling $400-and-up handbags as part an emphasis on premium products, shifted 24-year company veteran Ian Bickley to president of global brand development and strategic alliances. The new position includes heading up licensing, which previously fell under Chief Administrative Officer Todd Kahn.

Coach has licensing agreements with Luxottica (eyewear) and Movado (watches) that expire in 2020 and one with Inter Parfums (fragrances) that runs through 2026. This year, it is ending an 18-year run with footwear licensee Jimlar as it shifts to internal product development. Overall, Coach’s net income for Q1 ended March 31 rose 8.9% to $122 million despite a 4% decline in revenue to $$995.2 million.


Coach, Kevin Willis, Chief Financial Officer, 212-594-1850,




Firefly Brand Management is representing the Legends of Football eight-team women’s league with plans for launching t-shirts and other apparel this season and expanding in 2018, says Firefly’s Cynthia Modders. The league, which features 7-on-7 tackle football, was founded as the Lingerie Football League in 2009 and renamed Legends of Football in 2013. It also operates leagues in Canada and Australia. Meanwhile, Firefly also is handling licensing for some Endemol Shine North America programs including “Fear Factor” and “Deal or No Deal” and “Wipe Out” with plans for licensingtoys, videogames and mobile apps. The initial focus will be on “Fear Factor,” which is being relaunched on MTV on May 30. Endemol Shine will continue internal licensing for its high-profile properties, including “MasterChef” and “MasterChef Junior”, says Modders… Transport for London signs a five-year deal with TSBA Group to expand its licensing program globally with an emphasis on its symbols including the London Tube map Routemaster bus and roundel logo… Exemplar Associates is representing the University of Pennsylvania starting July 1, taking over a program previously administered by Learfield Licensing Partners that had about 180 licensees.


Firefly Brand Management, Cynthia Modders, Pres., 415-513-5826,

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

Exemplar Associates, Rick Merriam, Pres., 616-212-9593,

TSBA Group, Stephanie Freeman, Heading of Licensing, +44 208 334 0210,


Hybrid Launching “Love Tribe”

Hybrid Apparel is launching its “Love Tribe” Disney Princess-themed collection targeting teens and junior girls at 250 Macy’s stores on Friday. The line will include 20-30 Belle, Jasmin and Aeriel-themed t-shirts, shorts and fashion tops.


Hybrid Apparel, Derrick Baca, EVP Global Licensing, 714-947-8347,



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