Official Press Release
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 26, 2003-- Reinforcing the continuing growth and increasing clout of the Marvel Universe on a worldwide scale, Marvel Comics, the publishing division of leading global character-based entertainment company Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL - News), has expanded and extended its licensing agreement with top international print publisher Panini S.p.A. Marvel and Panini agreed to extend their existing license agreement, whereby Panini has retained the rights to serve as the primary international distributor of Marvel Comics content for an additional two years. The original license agreement was due to expire in December 2004. This agreement reflects Panini's growing success with Marvel branded products and represents Marvel's largest (non-toy) international licensing agreement to date. Pursuant to the agreement Marvel will receive substantially higher minimum annual guarantees effective immediately through the extended term, which will be recorded annually in the licensing segment. The agreement reflects Marvel's commitment to grow its international licensing operation.
Through December 2006 Panini will continue to serve as a primary international distributor of Marvel Comics content. The agreement covers Marvel's top selling comic books, trade paperbacks, encyclopedias and traditional graphic novels, which Panini translates into more than 10 languages for distribution in over 60 countries. The license agreement covers sales of these products for South and Central America and most of Europe.
"The extension and expansion of this agreement nearly 18 months prior to its original expiration is a clear signal that the global demand for Marvel's characters continues to grow at a tremendous rate," said Marvel Comics President of Publishing and Marvel Enterprises, Inc. Chief Operating Officer, Bill Jemas. "As the appeal and demand for our characters has increased, we continue to improve the financial terms of existing and new license agreements for products based on our intellectual property. Increasingly we are focusing more time and resources on improving existing license agreements, domestically and internationally, as well as seeking out new licensees for the international markets, as the next wave of global penetration for products based on our characters. Panini has played a large role in expanding the reach of our global brands, and we look forward to them continuing to help the international community experience the amazing Marvel Universe over the length of the expanded agreement."
The Panini Group, based in Modena (Italy), with branches in Europe and Latin America, is the world leader in the stickers and cards sector, is the fourth largest publisher in Europe in the sector of children's publishing, and is the most important distributor of strip cartoons for bookshops in Italy. At the moment it is developing a series of initiatives in the multi-media sector both on-line and off-line, under the PANINI INTERACTIVE(TM) trade-mark. In the year 2000 the Panini Group reached a turnover of 174 ML EUR, with distribution channels in more than 100 countries. It has about 480 employees. For further information: Panini S.p.A. 380 Viale Emilio Po 41100, Modena - Italy email@example.com
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL - News) is a leading global character-based entertainment company that has developed and owns a library of more than 4,700 characters, which have entertained generations around the world for over 60 years. Marvel's operations are focused in entertainment and consumer product licensing and comic book publishing. Marvel Studios supports the development of feature films, DVD/video products and TV series. Marvel's creative team also supports the creation of video games and toy lines based on its characters as well as for a broad and growing range of consumer products and services including apparel, collectibles, foods and promotions. Marvel's comic book division is a leading publisher in the global marketplace while also serving as an invaluable source of intellectual property. Marvel's Toy Biz division is a recognized creative force and leader in toy design, sales and marketing, developing and overseeing both licensee and in-house toy lines. For additional information visit http://www.marvel.com.