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 LOS ANGELES, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Malibu Comics Entertainment Inc., a privately held comic book publisher and video game creator based in Westlake Village, Calif., has added a thriving animation studio operation to its internal resources by selling a minority interest in the company to Worldwide Sports & Entertainment Inc. (WSE), a Denver- based entertainment investment firm.
 The arrangement coincides with Malibu's rise in the comic book market with shipments escalating from 3 million units in 1991 to 15 million units in 1993. In addition to its dramatic growth in the comic book arena, the company's Malibu Interactive division has just announced that its 1994 production slate will include major video game and CD projects on at least Sega, Nintendo and Game Gear, based on super-hero characters inhabiting Malibu Comics' highly successful new fictional universe, ULTRAVERSE. Separate games based on such characters as Prime, Firearm and The Strangers are already well along in development for planned fall 1994 releases.
 The announcement concerning WSE was made jointly today by Scott Rosenberg, president of Malibu Comics Entertainment Inc.; Bob Jacob, president of the Malibu Interactive division; and Norman J. Singer, president and founder of WSE.
 Worldwide Sports & Entertainment is a member of the Excorp Group, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Most notably, Worldwide is also the parent company of Philippine Animation Studio Inc., a full- service animation studio based in Manila.
 Utilizing the services of its animation studio, Worldwide is the co- producer of several prominent animated television shows, including the popular new Fox series, "Biker Mice From Mars." In addition, the company just launched an important new relationship with Saban whereby Worldwide and the Philippine Animation Studio are co-producing TV's "Battletech" and are also working on several episodes of the popular "X-Men" TV series.
 By adding the animation, financing and creative resources of Worldwide Sports & Entertainment to its wide array of activities, Malibu Comics Entertainment becomes one of the most diversified and self- sufficient multimedia operations in the multibillion dollar comic book and video game arena. Beyond stepping up its industry-leading marketing activities, the company in 1994 intends to pursue additional co- production and co-licensing arrangements, primarily revolving around animated and interactive projects. Malibu is represented by ICM, making it the only comic book publisher handled by a Hollywood talent agency.
 Given the animation production resources of WSE, Malibu plans to aggressively pursue the animated series route for its ULTRAVERSE characters, targeting fall 1995 as a likely launch date for such programs.
 Along these lines, Malibu is the first comic book publisher to also have a film division, Malibu Films. The division not only produces national commercials and in-house materials, but was additionally responsible for creating the pioneering "Reel Comics" format, a live- action, fully professional half-hour film based on a character from the ULTRAVERSE. "Reel Comics" productions are designed to be viewed as stand-alone TV series pilots, promotional tools for the filmmaking community as a whole or as in-store screeners for public consumption.
 In this regard, February will mark the release month of Malibu Films' flagship project, "Firearm No. 0," an internally funded, 30-minute, live-action video which will be packaged with a comic book. Initially, Malibu will release a collector's edition of "Firearm No. 0" available only at the nation's comic book stores. Other, more traditional means of distribution will be pursued shortly thereafter.
 With shipments climbing, as noted, to five times what they were two years ago and almost double those of 1992, Malibu Comics has evolved into one of the top five comic book publishers in the United States. This past summer, the company launched its top-selling ULTRAVERSE line, entailing several original super-hero characters who were created by a number of the most respected artists and writers in the industry.
 Concurrent with this success has been the rapid growth of Malibu Interactive, a leader in the expanding field of interactive video game design. Known both for creating original games based on Malibu Comics characters and for adapting existing characters into video game formats, Malibu Interactive has become a unique and invaluable component of Malibu Comics Entertainment, making it the first comic book company with a fully functioning interactive division.
 Commenting on the new arrangement, Rosenberg said, "We are highly enthusiastic about our association with Worldwide not simply because of its strong financial and business assets, but in light of the company's ability to help us penetrate the full entertainment spectrum through animation and licensing opportunities on a global level."
 Added Jacob, "I see substantial opportunities ahead for crossovers between the character development in our division and that of the Philippine Animation Studio in Manila. We believe we will strongly benefit from the studio's 350-strong staff, while at the same time being able to provide our expertise in the realms of advanced computer and design techniques."
 Commenting on the new association, Singer said, "An important part of our strategic plan in the entertainment industry is to build a library of intellectual properties in family and children's programming. Malibu offers us a great opportunity to be associated with some of today's leading talent who are creating fresh and long-lasting characters. The creative skills of Scott Rosenberg and Bob Jacob bring an important new dimension to our organization."
 Malibu Comics Entertainment was created by the merger between Malibu Comics and Acme Interactive in 1992, marking the only such union between a comic book publisher and video game creator/developer. In addition to the ULTRAVERSE line (launched with the most comprehensive advertising campaign in comic book history), Malibu Comics Entertainment includes among its recent achievements the release of the popular "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" comic book series, and the creation and development of Sega's top-selling video games, "Batman Returns," "Boxing's Greatest Heavyweights" and "Joe Montana CD Football."
 Always highly aggressive in the realm of marketing, Malibu is the first comic book company to create a national television commercial campaign. The first such campaign -- which included spots promoting ULTRAVERSE on MTV, Nickelodeon, E!, The Cartoon Network and The Sci-Fi Channel -- took place last June and earned a Marketing Strategy of the Year award from Capital City, one of the nation's top two comic book distributors. The campaign proved so successful, in fact, that a new one -- featuring two brand new Malibu Films-produced commercials -- is set to commence this month.
 WSE was founded by Singer in 1985 to help oversee the production and telecast of the internationally successful "Live Aid" charitable event, and since that time has overseen the production of major entertainment and sporting events, including TBS' "Goodwill Games."
 The Excorp Group holds diversified interests in entertainment and leisure-based companies in Southeast Asia. Through its U.S. holding company, Pexco Holdings Inc., Excorp also owns several manufacturing facilities in the United States, including the Voit Corp., a manufacturer of sports and recreation equipment. One of the members of the Excorp Group, Tanjong PLC, is quoted both on the London and the Kuala Lumpur stock exchanges.
 -0- 1/10/94
 /CONTACT: Peter Berk of The Lippin Group, 213-965-1990, or Hali Simon, 212-986-7080/

CO: Malibu Comics Entertainment Inc.; Worldwide Sports &
 Entertainment Inc. ST: California IN: PUB ENT SU: TNM

JB-JL -- LA001 -- 0547 01/10/94 11:44 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 10, 1994

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