Just Group sends Martians to invade US

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The Independent Online

Just Group, the intellectual rights and merchandising company that specialises in children's entertainment, is set to launch its Butt Ugly Martians cartoon series in the US after signing a lucrative licensing deal with Nickelodeon, the world's biggest cable network for children.

Shares in the group leapt 8 per cent after it said it expected to sign more than 50 merchandising licences on the back of the deal. Over 80 million US households watch Nickelodeon, which is owned by the media giant Viacom.

Wilf Shorrocks, Just Group's chief executive, said: "In monetary and meaningful terms this is the largest deal we've ever done. The chief executive of Hasbro [toys] has said that the Butt Ugly Martians are the next Ninja Turtles."

Mr Shorrocks said that the deal was worth a significant "seven-figure" sum in terms of the AIM-listed group, which has seen its profits explode from £3,000 to £1.2m in the year to April.

The series features B Bop-A-Luna, Do-Wah-Diddy and 2T-Fru-T, three Martians who defied orders from their evil emperor to conquer Earth after falling for its culture.

Shares in Just Group closed up 0.69p at 9.12p.

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