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."
Pokemon just announced that beginning this fall, the ninth season of the top-rated animated TV series, Pokemon: Battle Frontier, will air on Cartoon Network. Also, on June 3rd, episodes of Pokemon Chronicles launched during the Toonami block. A new direct-to-video title, the eighth Pokemon movie, Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, is set for release in September. In addition, Nintendo of America will launch new video games including Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team/Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo DS(TM) (Blue) and Game Boy(R) Advance (Red) and Pokemon 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.