(November 15, 2001 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Sanrio Company, Ltd., today announced a ground-breaking collaborative agreement to bring together for the first time feature characters from two of the world’s leading licensing and retail merchandising companies. The two companies have entered into an agreement under which they will develop and launch co-branded merchandise featuring the popular characters Tweety and Hello Kitty. The agreement, which calls for merchandise to be sold exclusively at Sanrio locations throughout Japan and most of Asia, is the first time industry-leading companies have partnered to develop and market a co-brand featuring their popular characters. Merchandise featuring the new co-brand will launch in March 2002 in Japan. Following this initial launch, the co-branded venture will be extended throughout most of Asia – to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Asia is one of the world’s largest character goods markets, with the size of Japan’s market alone estimated to be worth annually over two trillion yen (approximately US$16.6bn). “We are very proud of the strong stable of brands that Warner Bros. Consumer Products represents worldwide -- from Bugs Bunny to Batman, The Powerpuff Girls to Harry Potter -- and we have long admired the wonderful properties represented by Sanrio,” said Dan Romanelli, President of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. “Friendship and cross cultural exchange are fitting themes for this new relationship between Tweety and Hello Kitty and we look forward to working closely with Sanrio to build a long-lasting and successful relationship.” Designed around the theme of friendship and international goodwill, the merchandise will initially comprise of at least 200 Tweety and Hello Kitty co-branded products, as well as Tweety-as-designed-by-Sanrio exclusive product. Appealing to a broad spectrum of young women and girls aged between 16-30 -- a key market in Japan -- the co-branded collection of merchandise will range from stationery items, fashion and home accessories, personal care items, plush, gifts and novelties, electronics, publishing, food and beverages and confectionery. The Tweety-exclusive product will include stationery, paper goods, mobile phone accessories and towels. “Tweety and Hello Kitty are adored by fans of all ages around the world. Warner Bros. Consumer Products is pleased to be working with Sanrio, Japan’s leader in character licensing, to partner the world’s most loved cunning canary with the world’s most fashionable feline,” said Mark Matheny, Executive Vice President, International Licensing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Both characters appeal to a similar audience -- young women of today -- and this partnership allows us to bring them together through creative, fashion-forward merchandise with a cross-cultural theme.” The March 2002 launch of the merchandise will be supported by a comprehensive marketing campaign including print advertising, POP displays, standees, store fronts and window displays, in-store designs and promotions, shelf tops, mobiles and banners, retail promotions, product sales brochures, special gift cards and prize drawings, Tweety and Hello Kitty public appearances at local events and tours. Kunihiko Tsuji, Executive Vice President, Sanrio Co., Ltd., commented, “Sanrio is proud to be breaking new ground with Warner Bros. Consumer Products in this unprecedented collaboration of two of the world’s most beloved characters, Hello Kitty and Tweety. We see this as a step in exemplifying global cooperation and bringing innovative new products to market. This move is a natural for Hello Kitty, the world’s ambassador to friendship, who believes that you can never have too many friends. About Warner Bros. Consumer Products Warner Bros. Consumer Products is a division of Warner Bros., an AOL Time Warner Company, and is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world. About Sanrio Company, Ltd. Sanrio develops and distributes a unique line of over 12,000 children’s gifts, stationery and accessory items. Hello Kitty is the company’s flagship character. President and CEO, Shintaro Tsuji founded the company in 1960 based on the concept that a small gift can bring a smile to a child of any age. Today, there are over 600 Sanrio stores worldwide as well as over 10,000 Sanrio retail accounts, including toy stores and national chain stores. Sanrio’s worldwide sales exceeded $1.2 billion in 2000.
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