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Entertainment Rights buys Link Licensing

Entertainment Rights Plc, the UK-based intellectual property rights group, has snapped up family entertainment company Link Licensing for £15m (US$22m), increasing its library to 770 hours and extending its consumer products division.

Link, founded in 1986 Claire Derry and David Hamilton, has two core business areas – the licensing of consumer products and the development and sale of children's television programmes. Link boasts a total of 440 hours of family programming in its catalogue.

Since 1990, Link has been responsible for developing the Barbie licensing programme in the UK on behalf of Mattel. Barbie is the most successful girl's brand in the UK and is licensed across a wide range of products including apparel, toiletries, footwear, publishing, confectionery, stationery and home textiles.

Link has continued to develop its relationship with Mattel and was recently appointed to handle the merchandising and licensing for its premier international pre-school brand, Fisher Price.

In addition, Link brings to the Entertainment Rights portfolio Love Hearts, from Swizzels Matlow. Love Hearts will appear on a wide range of products including stationery, apparel, greeting cards, bedroom textiles, gifts and other products targeted at teenage girls.

In addition, Scholastic, a publisher of children’s books, has appointed Link to license a range of best-selling titles including, Horrible Histories and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Other properties licensed by Link include the hit series of the late 60's, The Magic Roundabout and Teddybears, one of CiTV’s leading pre-school programmes.

Since 1997, Link has been involved in creating a number of children's television series for ITV, BBC and the international market. Highlights include award-winning shows such as The Forgotten Toys, winner of the Berlin Film Festival, and The First Snow of Winter, winner of the children's BAFTA and the Royal Television Society Award.

Currently in production are a new pre-school series for the BBC called Ethelbert the Tiger; Hamilton Mattress, a model animation show for the BBC for Christmas 2001; Second Star to the Left, also for the BBC for Christmas 2001; and Preston Pig, based on the best selling books by Colin McNaughton for ITV, autumn 2001.

Entertainment Rights is buying Link Licensing with a combination of cash, loan stock and shares. Link’s turnover for the six months ended December 2000 was £4.3m (US$6.2m) with a profit before tax of £400k (US$580k).

Claire Derry, managing director and one of the founders of Link, will join the board of Entertainment Rights.

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