Warner Bros. Consumer Products and ENIC have formed a new business relationship that includes ENIC's acquisition of an 80% interest in the 10 Warner Bros. Studio Stores in the United Kingdom. In addition, ENIC will initially finance the development and operations of Warner Bros. entertainment-themed restaurants throughout the world, it was announced today by Dan Romanelli, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products and Daniel Levy, Managing Director, ENIC.
Converting the ownership of the Studio Stores is indicative of Warner Bros.' strategy to have all of its Studio Stores outside the U.S. majority-owned and operated by local partners. The Warner Bros. Studio Store International operating unit, part of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, has opened thirty-two Studio Stores internationally with regional retail partners. The success of the Warner Bros. Studio Store retail concept is evidenced by its rapid global expansion, beginning with the first Studio Store premiering in Los Angeles in the fall of 1991 to the 185 Studio Stores currently in operation worldwide.
"We are pleased to have ENIC be our UK partner for the Studio Stores," commented Romanelli. "The ENIC management team has the vision and resources to expand the chain within the region and take it to the next level."
The first Studio Store in the United Kingdom opened in Manchester in the fall of 1993, with the official flagship of the UK chain following in fall 1994 on Regent St. The other UK locations are: Surrey, West Midlands, Gateshead, Essex, Sheffield, Cheshire, West Sussex, and Glasgow.
The two companies have also formed a joint venture to design, develop and operate entertainment-themed restaurants on a worldwide basis, utilizing Warner Bros.' broad array of entertainment properties.
"This association with ENIC is very exciting on many levels, not the least of which are the many potential mutually beneficial businesses that draw upon the unique strengths of each of our companies, including the strength of the Warner Bros. brand and our intellectual properties," said Romanelli. "The first such endeavor is an innovative restaurant concept that promises a one-of-a-kind entertainment dining experience to customers of all ages that we will be developing together."
"Warner Bros. is a global name in entertainment and has a truly impressive range of intellectual properties," said Levy. "ENIC's strategic focus is on the growing entertainment and sports sectors and our partnership with Warner Bros. is a major step in fulfilling the goal of building an international sports and entertainment group."
The entertainment-themed restaurant concept will be led by Charles Lewis, a major shareholder and executive director of ENIC. Lewis is a prominent entrepreneur with considerable international experience in the start-up and management of businesses, including operating theme restaurants.
"We have put together a seasoned team of restaurateurs who are already in the development process of the design concept and are currently looking at real estate locations," said Lewis. "We look forward with great anticipation to developing our relationship further with Warner Bros."
ENIC is a developing international sports and entertainment group, specializing in the creation, development, and management of brands and related services. It currently operates two principal divisions focusing on entertainment and sports. ENIC Entertainment will be responsible for operating the Warner Bros. Studio Store retail outlets in the UK, and developing the worldwide restaurant concept together with Warner Bros. ENIC Sports owns interests in four European football franchises, namely, Vicenza Calcio in Italy, Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic, AEK Athens in Greece, and Glasgow Rangers in Scotland. In addition, ENIC Media is to acquire an interest in Autonomy, which develops information management software for the internet and corporate intranets.
Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products, a Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P., is one of the leading and most diversified licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world. With over 3,700 active licensees, WBCP handles the licensing and merchandising for all of the properties in Warner Bros.' vast library including such world-renowned brands as Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, MAD Magazine and its many hit films and television series. The division's businesses include domestic and international product and promotional licensing, publishing and interactive software. WBCP includes the highly successful Warner Bros.
Worldwide Licensing (which includes Worldwide Publishing, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Kids' WB! Music, WB Sport and WB Toys) and the Warner Bros. Studio Stores.