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LEGO Group Builds Licensed Portfolio Success with New Deals; Global Construction Toy Category Leader Secures Worldwide Licensing Rights to Leading Properties.

ENFIELD, Conn. -- The LEGO Group, manufacturer of creative play materials for children, today announces procurement of exclusive worldwide construction toy rights for the entire portfolio of children's entertainment powerhouse Nickelodeon, as well as partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on DC Comics' classic Batman(TM) brand.

Nickelodeon

An agreement with Nickelodeon grants master construction toy rights to the entire catalog of Nickelodeon properties, including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon Movies.

The first two Nick properties coming to life in brick form are "SpongeBob SquarePants" and the newest network hit, "Avatar: The Last Airbender," both rated in the network's top 10 for boys ages 6-11, according to A.C. Nielsen. Both lines will be available in August 2006.

Three constructible LEGO(R) SpongeBob SquarePants playsets feature iconic character minifigures, role play functionality and gadgets to reflect the property's wacky fun and silly pranks in iconic settings like Bikini Bottom and the Krusty Krab.

LEGO Avatar: The Last Airbender offers two hero models with collectible minifigures and role play action to recreate popular environs of the animated series. Planned marketing support includes TV, Web content, LEGO Club, model tour, co-promotions and retail feature.

"Nickelodeon is thrilled to partner with the LEGO Group across our full list of properties," says Sherice Torres, vice president, hard goods - Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products. "LEGO Group knows how to dazzle kids with imaginative construction toys and the combined appeal of the Nickelodeon and LEGO brands is a stamp of approval for kids and parents alike."

Batman(TM)

Through an agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, LEGO Group acquires construction toy license for the classic Batman brand, inspired by the pages of DC Comics' comic books; Warner Bros. Animation's hit television series, The Batman; Warner Bros. Pictures' blockbuster feature film, Batman Begins, which debuted in theaters this past summer and any related theatrical releases or television programs that are produced during the period of this deal.

Beginning in April 2006, LEGO Group will introduce six Batman products featuring constructible play sets with strong vehicle focus, cool functionality, gadgets and a library of collectible mini-figures.

The LEGO Batman product line replicates the collectible craze the company created around its best-selling LEGO Harry Potter(TM) series - where sets are designed to be combined to further the storyline and role play opportunities.

"Our partnership with the LEGO brand on Harry Potter has been an extremely successful one and we are excited about building our relationship through Batman," said Karen McTier, Executive Vice President of Domestic Licensing, Global Toys, Publishing and Themed Entertainment for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "LEGO Group brings a wealth of creativity and quality to the products they produce and are uniquely positioned to meet the high level of expectations we have for Batman, one of our marquis brands."

LEGO Batman will be supported with TV, print and online ads, Web content, LEGO Club, targeted events, a model tour and retail promotions.

Continuing Properties

The first licensed property to join the LEGO family in 1999, LEGO Star Wars(TM) has become one of the best-selling lines in global company history, and continues in 2006 with seven new playsets representing vehicles from the entire saga, including the B-Wing Fighter(TM) and Jabba the Hutt(TM)'s Sail Barge.

Ferrari continues to speed off shelves under the LEGO Racers brand of build-and-race vehicles with three new sets in 2006 featuring authentic Ferrari styling and racing marks. Award-winning best-seller LEGO DUPLO(R) Thomas & Friends and thematically well-aligned LEGO DUPLO Bob the Builder welcome new characters and building opportunities to their LEGO worlds.

"Building upon the success we have had over the years, and particularly in 2005 with Star Wars, we're thrilled to extend and compliment our existing stable of top licenses with three more red-hot properties to appeal to children of all ages," says Jill Wilfert, vice president, global partnership and alliance management for LEGO Group. "All-access to the Nickelodeon portfolio allows us to bring some of the most popular television stories and characters into the LEGO build-and-play universe for kids, while the classic Batman brand offers a tremendous opportunity to simultaneously engage boys and adult collectors in a building experience rich with details, functions and play possibilities.

About the LEGO Group

The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of play materials for children. The company is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough."

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. (C) 2005 The LEGO Group.

About Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products

Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) manages the merchandise licensing, home video, music, book and interactive software businesses for Nickelodeon brands and characters as well as the properties of Comedy Central, Spike TV and MTV Networks International, as well as some non-Viacom properties. In addition, NVCP manages the merchandise, interactive, book, and wireless licensing for Paramount Pictures properties. The NVCP business represents over $4 billion in retail sales. Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, Comedy Central and Spike TV are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

About DC Comics

DC Comics, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Sandman. These DC Super Heroes and others have starred in comic books, movies, television series (both animated and live-action) and cyberspace, thrilling audiences of all ages for generations. DC Comics' web site is located at www.dccomics.com.

BATMAN and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and (C) DC Comics.

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and (C) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (C) JKR

(s05)

(C) 2005 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.

Ferrari, all associated logos and the distinctive designs are trademarks of Ferrari S.p.A.

Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends(R) Based on The Railway Series by The Reverend W. Awdry

(C) 2005 HIT Entertainment PLC and Keith Chapman. The Bob the Builder name and character and related characters are trademarks of HIT Entertainment PLC. Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. And in the U.K. and in other countries.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 26, 2005
Words:1078
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