The following press release issued today reveals that Vivendi Entertainment has now acquired the assets of Genius Products which includes the WWE’s domestic DVD distribution.
Vivendi Entertainment Acquires Assets From Genius Products, Inc. and Becomes Leader in Independent Home Entertainment
Distribution Rights for Premium Brands Acquired Include World Wrestling Entertainment(R),Classic Media, Sesame Street(R) & RHI Entertainment(TM)
Genius Products Enters into a New Multi-Year Distribution Deal with Vivendi Entertainment for its Remaining Catalog and Future Releases
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ — In a move that significantly alters the landscape of the independent home entertainment industry, Vivendi Entertainment (VE) has acquired from Genius Products, Inc. (Genius Products), the exclusive distribution rights to a collection of marquee brands including World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE(R)), Sesame Street, Classic Media and RHI Entertainment.
The distribution rights are for North America, except RHI and WWE(R) which are for the U.S. only. The announcement was made today by Tom O’Malley, President of VE, and Trevor Drinkwater, CEO of Genius Products, Inc. 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.
“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,” stated Mr. O’Malley. “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,” said Trevor Drinkwater, CEO Genius Products. “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.”
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 & 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 Mr. O’Malley, to whom Mr. Budin reports.
The Genius transaction encompasses the distribution rights for a wide array of home entertainment offerings, including: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE(R)) 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, celebrating its 40th year as a vital educational and entertainment organization, and bringing over 130 catalog titles (along with its much anticipated 40th anniversary special collection).
About Vivendi Entertainment
Vivendi Entertainment is a full service independent film distribution company operating in the United States and Canada. Representing a vast range of genres including action, comedy, thriller, urban, family and stand-up comedies. Vivendi Entertainment has been a favorite choice of independent content providers. The company has built an extensive catalog of over 1,500 titles and its customer-centric business model was founded on the principles of collaboration and financial transparency. Vivendi Entertainment also provides best in class digital distribution services. Theatrically, the company will release the highly anticipated anthology New York, I Love You on October 16, 2009. Vivendi Entertainment is a division of Universal Music Group Distribution, the award-winning sales, marketing and distribution arm of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company.
About Genius Products, Inc.
Genius Products, Inc. (Pink Sheets: GNPR) is the owner of Genius Products, LLC, a leading independent home-entertainment content management company focused on producing, licenses and managing intellectual property from multiple third party partners and an internal library of motion pictures, television programming, family, lifestyle and trend entertainment on DVD, TV, film and other emerging platforms through its expansive network of multiple outlets including retailers throughout the U.S.
As reported earlier, Genius had been running into some financial issues so some kind of a change like this was expected.