Nico Blauw, CEO of Upper Deck International explained: “After losing the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game licence most people thought this was the end of our international business. However, we started planning to expand our business several years ago, and I am proud to say that our toys and games business is bigger today than our TCG business in 2008.
“This is an amazing achievement if you consider that almost 70 per cent of our business in 2008 was related to TCG’s. It shows that we have the resources, creativity and flexibility to adapt in a fast changing environment.”
On a pan-European level Upper Deck has secured exclusive toy rights with companies such as Moose (Crazy Sound and Spongi), Playmates (Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Toys) and All-in-One (Mickey Says electronic toy).
On a more regional level the company has signed distribution rights in the Benelux and German speaking markets for brands such as Bakugan and Tech Deck (Spin Master), Dinosaur King toys (Playmates) and Gormiti (Giochi Preziosi).
Following its own Huntik Trading Card Game, Upper Deck will also launch the Huntik toy line later this year featuring action figures of characters and Titans from the popular television show currently broadcasting on CITV and DisneyXD in the UK.
For younger consumers, the firm has developed an original pre-school line including Scrolly and Kikaboo, which launches next spring. Both lines feature classic licences such as Disney Princess, Mickey Mouse Club House and My Friends Tigger & Pooh.
Blauw continued: “As a company, we are excited to enter the toy market and are thrilled by the fact that we are bringing joy to so many consumers all over the world. We also have great partners and we appreciate working with them every minute of the day. “We have some very exciting new entertainment concepts that we look forward to bringing to the market as of 2011.”
The firm will continue to focus its business on third party distribution and developing licensed products as well as investing heavily in IP development. The operations in Japan and Hong Kong, under the coordination of the HQ in the Netherlands, will play a key role in this development.
Blauw concludes: “We have some very exciting new entertainment concepts that we look forward to bringing to the market as of 2011.”
The firm’s headquarters are based in The Netherlands and it has offices in Germany, France, UK, Italy, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan along with representatives in the Nordics, Spain and Latin America, giving it strategic positions in key entertainment markets.