via press release:
Nickelodeon Acquires Global Rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Nickelodeon to Develop New CG-Animated Television Series and Paramount Pictures to Develop Feature Film of Renowned Global Property
NEW YORK, Oct 21, 2009 -- Furthering its mission to provide premium content to its audiences, Nickelodeon--part of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B)--has acquired the global rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from The Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE). The acquisition provides Nickelodeon, the world's number-one entertainment brand for kids, global intellectual property rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the hit television, film and video game property that has delighted kids around the world for the last 25 years. The aggregate purchase price for the transactions is approximately $60 million.
Nickelodeon also announced plans to develop a new CG-animated television series based on the popular superhero franchise, anticipated to premiere in 2012. Additionally, in partnership with Viacom's Paramount Pictures, a new release of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feature film is also planned for 2012. Nickelodeon has also acquired all merchandising rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and will continue to work with its original and long-standing toy partner, Playmates Toys, which has been the creative force behind the successful TMNT master toy program over the last two decades.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shares a comedic sensibility with the Nickelodeon DNA, with added layers of action and fantasy that have kept this property an evergreen favorite with multiple generations of audiences," said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group. "We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to be able to focus on this property and creatively re-introduce it to a new generation of kids."
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a property that maintains a very passionate global fan base, is rich with opportunity for a tentpole movie, and is exactly the right property for us to work together with Nickelodeon," said Adam Goodman, President, Paramount Pictures.
"Mirage has been the proud keeper of the Turtles' brand since 1984, and in 2009 we celebrated their 25th anniversary with our legions of fans," said Gary Richardson, CEO, Mirage Studios. "Nickelodeon is a powerhouse global brand, and we are confident that the company will be a wonderful steward for Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello and all the other TMNT characters and take them in all kinds of exciting and new creative directions."
"We enjoyed our eight-year partnership with Mirage during which 4Kids and Mirage re-launched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise for a new generation of kids around the world," said Alfred Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. "We will also work with Mirage and Viacom so that our Turtles' licensees can be assured of a seamless transition."
Considered one of the most popular kids' television programs of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a classic, global property created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It first debuted as a successful comic book series and then became a hit animated TV show, a live-action television series, and later spawned four blockbuster theatrical releases. The property also has translated into a significant consumer products business--with DVDs, video games, toys and more--that has generated billions of dollars at retail.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is based on four mutant turtles--trained in the art of Ninjitsu--who battle evil from the New York sewers. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated television series--jointly produced by 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios--will continue to air on "TheCW4Kids" Saturday morning programming block on The CW network through Aug. 31, 2010.
Nickelodeon, now in its 30th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in almost 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 15 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).
About Mirage Studios
The Mirage Group is a group of companies, including Mirage Studios, Inc., located in Northampton, Massachusetts, that owned and managed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property from its creation in 1984 through 2009.
About 4Kids Entertainment
Master licensing agent for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE), is a global organization devoted to the creation, development, production, broadcasting, licensing and manufacturing of children's entertainment products, with U.S. headquarters in New York City, regional offices for its trading card business in San Diego, California, and international offices in London and Hong Kong.
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This news release contains both historical and forward-looking statements. All statements that are not statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current expectations concerning future results, objectives, plans and goals, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and which may cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others: the worsening of current economic conditions generally, and in advertising and retail markets in particular; the public acceptance of the Company's programs, motion pictures and games on the various platforms on which they are distributed; competition for audiences and distribution; technological developments and their effect in the Company's markets and on consumer behavior; fluctuations in the Company's results due to the timing, mix and availability of the Company's motion pictures and games; changes in the Federal communications laws and regulations; the impact of piracy; other domestic and global economic, business, competitive and/or regulatory factors affecting the Company's businesses generally; and other factors described in the Company's news releases and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its 2008 Annual Report on Form 10-K and reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document, and the Company does not have any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.