Konami Explains Transition of 4Kids' Yu-Gi-Oh Assets

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Anime's card game rights holder plans new company to expand distribution, toy line

The retail news source ICv2 posted an interview with Konami Digital Entertainment Vice President Card Business Yumi Hoashi discussing the status of 4Kids Entertainment's former Yu-Gi-Oh! assets on Monday. Konami received the rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime franchise last month after the sale of 4Kids' Yu-Gi-Oh! and CW Network-related assets was granted to a joint bid by Saban's Kidsco Media Ventures LLC and Konami's 4K Acquisition Corp.

In the interview, Hoashi revealed that Konami is taking over 4Kids' New York office and creating a new company with some 4Kids employees. Konami will wholly own the new company that will handle the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime's adaptation, distribution, and related merchandise licensing.

Konami plans to continue broadcasting Yu-Gi-Oh! anime in North America while expanding distribution by finding a new television channel to rebroadcast the series in the United States. Saban's KidsCo affiliate received The CW Network's Saturday Morning block agreement terms in 4Kids' assets sale. Hoashi confirmed that the programming block is still airing Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EST followed by the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Canada's YTV network also broadcasts the Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal television anime.

Konami will also actively solicit new licensees for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal toy line. Hoashi noted that 4Kids' "difficulties" in the past year prevented it from soliciting such toy licenses. 4Kids filed for bankruptcy last year shortly after TV Tokyo, Nihon Ad Systems, and ADK filed a lawsuit over Yu-Gi-Oh! licensing. The suit reached an "amicable" settlement earlier this year, with ADK and TV Tokyo paying US$8 million to 4Kids.

Konami is the Japanese licensor and distributor of the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, while Saban once produced the Fox Kids programming block. (4Kids also once produced Fox's Saturday morning programming until 2008.)

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