The Mirage Group, owners of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles(TM) property, have sold the iconic brand to Nickelodeon – part of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. 4Kids Entertainment has received a payment of approximately $9.75 million at the Closing in consideration of its agreement to terminate its right to serve as the merchandise licensing agent prior to the scheduled expiration of the representation agreement in 2012. 4Kids may also receive an additional $1 million upon expiration of the escrow relating to the transaction.
The sale of the Turtles property, which has achieved popularity across the world, comes in its 25th anniversary year, with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having made their debut in an eponymous comic by TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in May 1984. In the quarter century that followed, the Turtles brand embraced nearly every medium and product form: four of the most successful independent theatrical motion pictures of all time, over 350 half-hours of TV programming, top 10 all-time sales status for worldwide sales of toy action figures, and over 600 worldwide merchandise licensees.
“This is a great deal for all parties,” said Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. “We congratulate our partners at Mirage on the sale of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Nickelodeon and on their gracious recognition of the contribution made by 4Kids to re-launch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise in 2002 for a new generation of kids around the world. We also congratulate Nickelodeon on acquiring the rights to an outstanding boys’ property.”
“From 4Kids’ perspective, we received a $9.75 million capital injection at the Closing and a share of Turtles royalties through June 30, 2010,” added Kahn. “4Kids will also continue to air the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television episodes that it co-produced with Mirage in ‘TheCW4Kids’ block on the CW Network through the end of the 2009-2010 broadcast season.”
4Kids, Mirage and Viacom will work together so that Turtles broadcast and merchandise licensees can be assured of a seamless transition which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2010.
Peter Laird has some interesting thoughts and comments regarding the sale up on his blog.