Flutter-TSG to Form Largest Online Betting Company; Disney Bags 8 Major Advertisers for Star Wars Finale; LVMH Looks for Revenue from Virtual Fashion; Matrubharti Raises INR 3.24 Crore in Angel Funding; Universal Unveils New Trolls Tour Line-Ups; Plastic Ban Spells Trouble for eCommerce Companies; Udaan Raises USD 585 Million in Series D; Simon Group Invests in Rue Gilt and more.
Flutter-TSG to Form Largest Online Betting Company
UK betting giant, Flutter Entertainment, is all set to buy Canadian online gaming company, The Stars Group (TSG), to form the world’s largest online betting company worth. Flutter which signed an all-shares deal worth 10 billion pounds will now be able to reap the benefits of a booming US sports betting market. This deal comes as an aftermath of the US Supreme Court relaxing a few federal laws which had banned betting in May last year. Sports betting has been declared legal in 11 US States with the others at different stages of legislation review.
Disney Bags 8 Major Advertisers for Star Wars Finale
Disney has successfully signed 8 major advertising partners for its upcoming Star Wars release, The Rise of Skywalker. The blue-chip list of companies includes Porsche, United Airlines, Samsung Mobile, Dannon, Bose, GE appliances, McDonald’s, and General Mills. These companies will be launching Star Wars-themed ad campaigns starting in October, with some extending through the film’s release. For instance, United Airlines will bring out special aircraft to celebrate the final chapter of the famous sci-fi series. Disney has confirmed that creatives will be produced by Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic in close collaboration with the companies.
LVMH Looks for Revenue from Virtual Fashion
Luxury Retailer Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, the parent company of high-fashion brand Loius Vuitton, has partnered with video game company Riot Games to make virtual items that video game-players can buy. The world’s most valuable luxury brand has jumped on the bandwagon o fashion companies working with game developers to tap into the huge video game market, which was estimated to be worth USD 43.8 billion in 2018, and over USD 30 billion in 2017, of which USD 4 billion came from in-app purchases. Loius Vuitton will be offering its virtual merchandise for in-app purchase, and will also make a custom case to house the Summoner’s Cup for Riot Games’ annual World Championship.
The LVMH-Riot deal closely follows a recent deal between another Paris-based brand, Moschino, and The Sims 4, which allows players to outfit their characters in branded runway garments. These fashion houses are looking to expand awareness through brand placement to gamers who could be potential customers, and earn more than a share of video-game revenue.
Matrubharti Raises INR 3.24 Crore in Angel Funding
Ahmedabad-based vernacular content start-up company, Matrubharti, has been able to bag an investment amount to the tune of INR 3.24 Crores from US-based Gujrati NRI angel investors. The company will be utilizing the funding to develop content in three additional South Indian languages and also improve technology and data intelligence on their platform. User Generated Content accounts for over 2.5 lakh textual articles and over 10, 000 videos on the platform. Matrubharti believes that Indian people prefer to access information in their vernacular language, and will be focusing on expanding vernacular content in the coming months.
Universal Unveils New Trolls Tour Line-Ups
Universal is making the most of Dreamworks Animation’s upcoming ‘Trolls World Tour’ with new licensing line-up, including Hasbro, Plum Products and Difuzed. This sequel to Dreamwork Animation’s 2016 blockbuster will be released in March 2020 in the UK, with a cast consisting of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake and new characters voiced by musical talents like Kelly Clarkson, Mary J Blige and Ozzy Osbourne. The brand’s feel-good vibe has attracted a wide audience, which attracts a wide range of fans and licensing opportunities. Hasbro is the master toy partner worldwide, while Difuzed heads the fashion and accessory line-up, and Plum products joins the consumables range.
Plastic Ban Spells Trouble for eCommerce Companies
eCommerce companies operating in India are having to navigate a maze of plastic ban policies implemented differently in each state. Himachal Pradesh has completely banned single-use plastic, Karnataka is still using plastic despite the ban, Kerala has banned use of plastic less than 50 microns while West Bengal has banned plastic below 40 microns. Amazon received a legal notice earlier this year from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) demanding a show-cause over Amazon’s use of bubble wrap. The company changed the quality of its bubble wrap to meet the state’s standards but there is still a lot of ambiguity to be addressed. The lack of any decisions and clarity on a nation-wide ban has further left companies in a fix, as they depend on plastic and other material to package products for shipping. The problem is worsened by franchisees and sellers packing their own products and only shipping them through eCommerce channels, which reduces the amount of control the company can exercise over the packaging. Part of the confusion also stems from the central government failing to define the term ‘single-use plastic’, even while states scramble to ban such items.
Udaan Raises USD 585 Million in Series D
Udaan, a B2B startup that connects small businesses across India, has recently raised USD 585 million from investors including Tencent, Altimeter and Citi Ventures in the latest financing rounds. This is the largest round of funding for any B2B eCommerce start-up so far in India, and brings the company’s valuation to over USD 2.3 billion.
Udaan operates at the small business level, connecting retailers, traders and wholesalers, and also providing credit to small and medium business persons, and kirana shop owners. The platform currently has 3 million retailers and over 25,000 sellers. It supports business in various categories, including perishable foods, household goods, toys, restaurants and street vendors.
Simon Group Invests in Rue Gilt
Online discount retailer, Rue Gilt Groupe, has managed to bag an investment worth USD 280 million from Simon Property Group, one of the largest shopping mall operators in the US. The company plans to invest in launching a brand-new website for outlet shopping which will be operated by and promoted by Simon. The combined They would also merge their respective customer database to create a 35 million people database. This unconventional partnership between a mall operator and an off-price merchandiser will open new revenue streams to counter the decline in mall traffic and move to a more sustainable discount market instead of relying on flash sales.
Authored and compiled by Anusmita Mazumder and Ashwini Arun (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
The eCommerce Law and IP Transactions News Bulletin is brought to you by the eCommerce Law and Consulting/Strategy Division of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: eCommerce Law News.
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