Marvel Terminates Toy Biz Worldwide Licensing Agreement And Plans For Transition To Hasbro License In 2007
New York, New York – January 9, 2006 – Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL), announced today that is has terminated its licensing agreement with Toy Biz Worldwide Ltd., effective as of December 31, 2005, one year earlier than the license’s scheduled termination date. As a result of the termination, in 2006 Marvel-branded action figures and other toys formerly produced by Toy Biz Worldwide will be produced by Marvel. Now, with full control over Marvel-branded toys produced for sale in 2006, Marvel will be in a better position to effect a smooth transition to Hasbro in areas such as toy development, manufacturing, shipping, and retail space. As a result of this early termination, Marvel will record a one-time cash charge of $13 million - $16 million in the fourth quarter of 2005 related to the early termination and reimbursed research and development expenses. The charge is not reflected in Marvel’s financial guidance for 2005, last provided on November 9, 2005.
Marvel’s Chairman, Morton Handel, commented, “While Marvel will own any inventory produced for 2006, our policy of predominantly manufacturing to order should help mitigate our inventory risk. Commencing in 2007, a wide range of toy and game categories – including action figures, role play and preschool toys, board games and puzzles – will be produced by our new licensee, Hasbro. We are very excited by the business prospects we see in teaming with an industry leader.”
Additional Background on Hasbro License Agreement
The combined percentage royalty and fees to be received by Marvel from Hasbro will be generally lower than those paid by Toy Biz Worldwide, but Marvel believes that Hasbro’s worldwide marketing, promotion and distribution strength should enhance the Marvel brand and Marvel-branded toy sales. In conjunction with the signing of the Hasbro license agreement, Marvel will receive a non-refundable advance of $100 million. There will be no immediate revenue recognition related to the advance payment.
The license is conditioned on its clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
With a library of over 5,000 proprietary characters, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel’s operations are focused in three areas: entertainment (Marvel Studios) and licensing, comic book publishing and toys (Toy Biz). Marvel facilitates the creation of entertainment projects, including feature films, DVD/home video, video games and television based on its characters and also licenses its characters for use in a wide range of consumer products and services including apparel, collectibles, snack foods and promotions. Marvel’s characters and plot lines are created by its publishing segment that continues to expand its leadership position in the U.S. and worldwide while also serving as an invaluable source of intellectual property.
Except for any historical information that they contain, the statements in this news release regarding Marvel’s plans are forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, including a decrease in the level of media exposure or popularity of Marvel’s characters, financial difficulties of Marvel’s licensees, changing consumer preferences, movie- and television-production delays and cancellations, toy-production delays or shortfalls, continued concentration of toy retailers, toy inventory risk, the imposition of quotas or tariffs on products manufactured in China and a decrease in cash flow even as Marvel remains indebted to its noteholders. These and other risks and uncertainties are described in Marvel’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Marvel’s Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. Marvel assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
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