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Marvel Gets into Plush Toy & Gift Licensing

Marvel Enterprises, Inc. has announced that it is consolidating important sub-categories of its toy licensing business with industry leader Russ Berrie and Co. for the plush and gift categories in the specialty markets. This new arrangement furthers Marvel's category management strategy, whereby Marvel seeks to enhance the potential market for its licensed products by selecting top-caliber partners who can expand the marketing and promotional support for Marvel-licensed product lines.

As part of the agreement, Russ Berrie and Co. will now produce and market under a global, multi-year license agreement plush items and gift category products for several premiereMarvel character franchises including SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, THOR, IRON MAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, CAPTAIN AMERICA, DAREDEVIL, SILVER-SURFER, NAMOR and Marvel's pre-school line, Spider-Man and Friends.

Russ' initial Marvel offering will include an assortment of SPIDER-MAN plush items as well as other gift category products. Merchandise is expected to be available in retail outlets in time for the Holiday 2004 season. Russ will develop unique lines of plush and gift products tailored to its various channels of distribution including gift, specialty, drug and grocery stores, department stores, duty free shops, flower shops and military post exchanges.

Andy Gatto, president/ceo, Russ Berrie and Co., commented, "We are delighted to be working with Marvel Enterprises in this new business venture. By creating an extensive line of products based on Marvel's classic characters, Russ has a wonderful opportunity to add another dimension to the enjoyment by fans of these Super Heroes. We look forward to creating unique merchandise that will please the legion of loyal Marvel fans and at the same time drive traffic into the stores of our many retailers around the world."

"Russ is the premiere name in the plush toy and gift industries," said Tim Rothwell, Marvel Enterprises' president, Worldwide Consumer Media Group. "As Marvel further establishes itself as one of the entertainment industry's marquee licensors, we are establishing long-term relationships with category leaders who can garner the most significant retail space, provide the strongest sales and marketing support and produce the highest quality, exciting product mix. RUSS is that type of partner who will be instrumental in helping us greatly expand our worldwide presence in the gift and specialty market."

Marvel Enterprises Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel's operations are focused in four areas: entertainment (Marvel Studios), licensing, comic book publishing and toys (Toy Biz). For more information, visit

Russ Berrie and Co. Inc., a leader in the gift industry, (and its wholly-owned subsidiaries), designs, develops and distributes more than 8,000 gift products through 41,000+ specialty stores worldwide. For more information, visit

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