aNb Media News, August 17, 2010

Saban Acquires Paul Frank

Saban Capital Group, Inc., announced that it has acquired lifestyle company Paul Frank Industries (PFI) including all company assets and intellectual property, an extensive design portfolio including more than 150 characters, headlined by the omnipresent monkey Julius. Saban Brands, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group, Inc., will be responsible for the management of the company’s business strategy moving forward, while creative operations will remain based in PFI’s current headquarters in Costa Mesa, California.

Ryan Heuser will continue to drive the company’s creative vision as chief creative officer of Paul Frank Industries and will report directly to Elie Dekel. Mossimo Giannulli, one of the previous owners of Paul Frank Industries, will continue to advise and support the brand on a strategic level. John Oswald will be leaving the company.

Tom Arbuckle Passed Away

Tom Arbuckle, former general manager of The Toy Building, passed away. Friends such as Ken Lewis of 4Kidz, Inc., and Mark Nuccio of Design Edge, both mentioned right away that Arbuckle was a proud Marine—always wearing a lapel pin. Nuccio described Arbuckle as, “a gentleman who was always there to help. When I started my own business he opened doors for me. He introduced me to those in the building and to clients,” he says. Nuccio added that Arbuckle, with his wide variety of Irish knit sweaters, was an integral part of the toy industry who will be sorely missed.

Lewis noted that a memorial service for Arbuckle is being planned by Tom’s wife, Joanne. The expected date is September 11. As further information becomes available we will pass it on.

Meeting in The Toy Building

Everything old is new again. I just attended a product demonstration meeting in The Toy Building. Cohn & Wolf, which has permanent office space on the 6th floor of 200 Fifth Avenue, hosted a demonstration of Carnival Games for the Wii from 2K Games.

The lobby has been transformed. There is a super sleek modern white entrance, which is a bit too antiseptic for my taste (so much for that landmark status). The back of the lobby is ultra modern, white, and tastefully decorated. There are numerous mini white lights hanging from the ceiling and a back wall of beveled glass, which brings in natural light from behind. There is natural light coming in because the back of the lobby has been opened up and redesigned. This back part of the lobby cuts off right where the circular information booth once stood. The side entrances on 23rd and 24th streets are no longer accessible. There are imposing white doors, which blend into the white walls cutting off access to what would have been Cardinal and Chicco’s showrooms on the left and Madame Alexander’s showroom on the right. There in no evidence of the staircase that was once in front of MGA’s ground floor showroom.

Those in the back half of the building are hard at work creating and stocking the much-anticipated food hall, Eataly, which is scheduled to open this fall. But that work is completely separated from the lobby’s serene, quiet atmosphere.

Cohn & Wolf’s reception area is on the 6th floor as the elevator doors open. The terrazzo floors remain intact but beyond that there are no remaining elements of what was once there.

From the elevator bank there is office space on both the right and left sides of the building. Cohn & Wolf has a staircase inside their office, which accesses the seventh floor. Exiting from the seventh floor to head back to the elevator bank post-meeting, shows that there is a huge amount of office space still to be renovated.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to wander around the rest of the building. Taking the stairs floor to floor didn’t seem to be an option in this area. Attempts to press the 9th and 15th floor buttons in the elevator yield no result. Those floors, most likely, remain unfinished whereas the 5th floor contains office space with lots of activity.

In addition, 1107 Broadway has a stop work order posted on the doors dated from last summer. The building is clearly in the midst of a massive renovation.

The gracious 23 year old who hosted the video game demonstration needed an explanation of what The Toy Building was about. Time marches on.

Walmart Reports Results

Walmart Stores reported that second quarter sales and earnings increased in the fiscal second quarter period, which ended July 31, 2010. The retailer reported income from continuing operations attributable to Walmart for the quarter increased to $3.6 billion from $3.5 billion in the second quarter last year. Earnings per share from continuing operations were 97 cents, up from 89 cents in the same period last year, and in line with estimates of 97 cents per share.

Net sales for the quarter increased 2.8 percent to $103 billion from $100 billion in last year’s period. Sales came in below consensus estimates of $105.4 billion.

“The slow economic recovery will continue to affect our customers, and we expect they will remain cautious about spending,” said Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO, in a statement.

The Hub Continues to Announce TV Lineup

Clue, the board game, will come to The Hub as an original, half-hour live-action series. It will feature a youthful, ensemble cast (which has yet to be announced) working together to uncover clues and unravel mysteries. The series will be produced by Hasbro Studios.

Clue will join a diverse lineup of Hub original series and U.S. premieres previously announced by the channel. Hub original series announced to-date include: Dan Vs., Family Game Night, G.I. JOE Renegades, My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Pictureka!, Pound Puppies, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, The Adventures of Chuck and Friends, and Transformers Prime.

In addition, as it approaches its October 10 launch, The Hub announced the following acquisitions that will join the lineup: Doogie Howser, M.D., Wonder Years, Transformers—Generation 1, and G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero.

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