Press Release: JAKKS Pacific Signs Master Toy Deal for Pokémon Brand
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JAKKS Pacific and Pokemon USA Sign Master Toy Deal for Hugely Popular Pokemon Brand; Companies Jointly Announce the Expansive New License at Press Conference Before the Opening of Licensing 2006 International
MALIBU, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 20, 2006–JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK) and Pokemon USA, Inc. announced today that the two companies have signed a Master Toy licensing agreement under which JAKKS(TM) Pacific will develop, manufacture and distribute a diverse line of toys and related products based on the hugely popular Pokemon(R) brand. JAKKS Pacific and Pokemon USA will officially announce the agreement at a press conference at Pier 81 in New York City preceding the opening of the Licensing 2006 International Show.
Pokemon is the collective name for more than 380 characters that one can find, catch, train, trade, collect, and use in battle against rivals in the quest to become a Pokemon Master. With more than $25 billion in worldwide retail sales, Pokemon is a global pop culture phenomenon credited with making Japanese animation mainstream in the U.S.
Categories covered in the agreement include action figures, play sets, accessories, role-play items, plush, plug-and-play items, craft activity kits, stationery, writing instruments and seasonal products, including kites and pool toys.
“This new deal with Pokemon is an incredible milestone for JAKKS Pacific,” said Stephen Berman, President and COO, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. “Pokemon, with its vast universe of characters, continues to capture children’s imaginations today, for the same reasons it has over the past 10 years — engaging story lines and universal themes like friendship and teamwork. We are extremely proud that they have chosen JAKKS as their Master Toy partner, and we are ready to take the Pokemon brand into its next phase of growth with a stellar line-up of products.”
Berman continued, “JAKKS has been in the action figure business since our inception, and we know what it takes to make and keep an action figure line fresh in the market. Pokemon has all the makings of a thriving toy line because it is an evergreen brand that has built a core collector following as well as a new generation of fans.”
“JAKKS Pacific, a leader of innovative toy design, has a unique understanding of what kids want. That, coupled with its speed to market, merchandising capabilities, unique product offerings and creative management, were attractive qualities that reeled us in,” said Akira Chiba, President, Pokemon USA. “JAKKS’ ability to manage aggressive roll-out schedules and to continually offer fresh assortments at retail keeps kids coming back for more. JAKKS’ proposal for the toy line was visionary and we are thrilled to be partnering with a young, innovative company.”
Pokémon just announced that beginning this fall, the ninth season of the top-rated animated TV series, Pokémon: Battle Frontier, will air on Cartoon Network. Also, on June 3rd, episodes of Pokémon Chronicles launched during the Toonami block. A new direct-to-video title, the eighth Pokémon movie, Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, is set for release in September. In addition, Nintendo of America will launch new video games including Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team/Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo DS(TM) (Blue) and Game Boy(R) Advance (Red) and Pokémon Ranger for the Nintendo DS(TM).
JAKKS plans to launch the Pokemon product line in North America in Spring 2007, as well as various international territories, including Canada, South America, Central America, Mexico and more.
About Pokémon USA
Pokémon USA, Inc., a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia which includes licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, an animated TV series, home entertainment, the official Pokemon website, and online retail center www.pokemoncenter.com.
Celebrating its 10th worldwide anniversary in 2006, Pokemon was launched in Japan in 1996 for play on Nintendo’s Game Boy(R) and has since evolved into a global cultural phenomenon. Pokemon was introduced in North America in September 1998 and today is one of the most popular toy and entertainment properties in the world. For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.
About JAKKS Pacific, Inc.
JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAKK) is a multi-brand company that designs and markets a broad range of toys and consumer products. The product categories include: Action Figures, Art Activity Kits, Stationery, Writing Instruments, Performance Kites, Water Toys, Sports Activity Toys, Vehicles, Infant/Pre-School, Plush, Construction Toys, Electronics, Dolls, Dress-Up, Role Play, and Pet Toys and Accessories. The products are sold under various brand names including JAKKS Pacific(R), Play Along(R), Flying Colors(R), Creative Designs International(TM), Road Champs(R), Child Guidance(R), Pentech(R), Trendmasters(R), Toymax(R), Funnoodle(R), Go Fly a Kite(R), Color Workshop(R), JPI(TM) and Plug It In & Play TV Games(TM). JAKKS and THQ Inc. participate in a joint venture that has worldwide rights to publish and market World Wrestling Entertainment video games. For further information, visit www.jakkspacific.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) that are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about JAKKS Pacific’s business based partly on assumptions made by its management. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in such statements due to numerous factors, including, but not limited to, those described above, changes in demand for JAKKS’ products, product mix, the timing of customer orders and deliveries, the impact of competitive products and pricing, and difficulties with integrating acquired businesses. The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date on which they are made, and JAKKS undertakes no obligation to update any of them to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.