4Kids Entertainment Signs New Five-Year Deal With Pokemon USA; Acquires 3% Interest In The Pokemon Company10 Oct, 2001 By: Hive News
New York-based 4Kids Entertainment said Wednesday that it has signed a five-year agreement with Pokemon USA Inc., a subsidiary of The Pokemon Company, to continue as the exclusive merchandise licensing agent and exclusive representative of television broadcast and home video rights for "Pokemon" TV series, outside of Asia.
In addition, 4Kids has acquired a 3% equity interest in The Pokemon Company, which was organized in 1998 by the creators of Pokemon, Nintendo Co., Ltd., Creatures, Inc. and GameFreak Inc., to manage and control all rights throughout the world to Pokemon.
"The Pokemon Company will centralize and streamline the brand management of Pokemon throughout the world," said Al Kahn, chairman and c.e.o. of 4Kids Entertainment. "As a 3% equity owner in The Pokemon Company, 4Kids can, for the first time, benefit indirectly from Pokemon's success in Asia and from worldwide sales of Pokemon electronic cards and video games.
"We have also been advised that, among other objectives, The Pokemon Company is considering the possibility of a future initial public offering of its shares in Japan. This would place a market value on the Pokemon franchise and build value for 4Kids' shareholders," said Kahn.
In connection with 4Kids' investment in The Pokemon Company, 4Kids and the Japanese creators of, and partners in, Pokemon will be contributing certain revenue streams to The Pokemon Company. Beginning in 2002, 4Kids will accept a reduced commission on sales of Pokemon strategy cards and will relinquish commissions on any sales of Pokemon electronic strategy cards that may be introduced by The Pokemon Company in coming years.
Commenting on the new agreements, Hiroaki Tsuru, executive v.p. of The Pokemon Company, said, "We welcome 4Kids Entertainment as an equity partner in The Pokemon Company. Their contribution to building the Pokemon brand in the worldwide market outside of Asia has been invaluable. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with 4Kids to ensure the future success of the Pokemon brand."