Vivendi Entertainment acquires Genius Products’ home entertainment assets

MUMBAI: In a move that significantly alters the landscape of the independent home entertainment industry, Vivendi Entertainment has acquired from Genius Products, the exclusive distribution rights to a collection of marquee brands including World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Sesame Street, Classic Media and RHI Entertainment.

The distribution rights are for North America, except RHI and WWE which are for the US only.

As a result of the transaction, Vivendi Entertainment significantly increases its revenues and becomes a market leader in the independent home entertainment industry. As part of this acquisition, Genius Products will continue operations and has entered into a new multi-year distribution deal with Vivendi Entertainment to distribute Genius’ remaining catalog and future releases.

Vivendi Entertainment president Tom O’Malley said, "We have long admired the brands that will now be part of the Vivendi Entertainment family and are excited to get started with our new partnerships. With the addition of many Genius sales and marketing personnel, we have a team loaded with talent, and enjoy strong retail relationships. Further, we provide financial stability to our partners at a time when it is especially important. With this transaction, our company becomes an ideal home for other top brands seeking a DVD and digital distribution partner."

"This alliance will allow our company to fully focus on our core strengths including content creation, development, production and management. We believe VE is the perfect home for these strong brands as well as other independent content providers, and we look forward to leveraging our relationship with VE to accelerate our developing business model by enhancing our presence in film, television, video games, DVD and music while expanding into other entertainment based categories such as toys, electronics and graphic novels," said Genius Products CEO Trevor Drinkwater.

As an important part of the transaction, Vivendi has hired several key Genius executives to join the company including Mitch Budin who has been appointed executive vice president and general manager of Vivendi Home Entertainment.

"Mitch is recognized and respected as a leader within the industry and will play a vital role in expanding our home entertainment business even further. We are thrilled to have him on the team," added O’Malley, to whom Budin reports.

The Genius transaction encompasses the distribution rights for a wide array of home entertainment offerings, including: World Wrestling Entertainment with its many consistently chart-topping releases including the perennial best seller WrestleMania series; made-for-television movies and miniseries from RHI Entertainment (including Tin Man and Lonesome Dove); Classic Media’s beloved titles which include Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and VeggieTales; and Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind Sesame Street and bringing over 130 catalog titles along with its 40th anniversary special collection.

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