Los Angeles, CA, and Beijing, China –Corbis and Visual China Group ("VCG"; Shenzhen Stock Exchange: 000681.SZ) today jointly announced that Unity Glory International Ltd. ("Unity Glory"), an affiliate of VCG owned by VCG's major shareholders, has acquired the assets and brands of Corbis' Images division, one of the world's leading image archives and content licensing businesses. VCG is China's leading visual communications and new media company and among the largest businesses in the image industry worldwide. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Under the terms of the agreement, Unity Glory will own and manage the images and motion archives, names and trademarks associated with the Corbis Images, Corbis Motion and Veer licensing brands.
Amy Jun Liang, Chief Executive Officer of VCG, said, "Corbis is a world-leading and widely esteemed brand in the image industry, and we are thrilled to add this treasure-house of valuable image assets to our premium brand portfolios. The transaction strengthens our dominant position in China's image industry, enhances our core competence in the global high-end image market, and marks a significant milestone on our journey of globalization. As one of the most well-established companies in the industry, we work to capture the evolving demand for visual communications around the world with first-class visual content, unparalleled customer experience, and in collaboration with our extensive network of partners."
For Corbis, the sale of Corbis Images accelerates the company's transformation into an entertainment advertising business with a particular focus on product integration, providing global brands and media agencies with end-to-end access to film, TV, OTT, digital and celebrity product placement opportunities. Through its Corbis Entertainment division, it launched the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) two years ago, bringing technology, search, planning and analytics to product integration, making product placement opportunities seamless, efficient and effective as well as driving unprecedented scale on a global basis.
Following the sale of its image assets to Unity Glory, Corbis Entertainment will be rebranded in the coming months, and BEN and the other businesses within the division will operate under the new brand name, reflecting the company's focus on entertainment advertising.
"Corbis is thriving and growing rapidly as we pursue our strategy in entertainment advertising through our Branded Entertainment Network (BEN)," said Gary Shenk, Chief Executive Officer of Corbis. "We are pleased to have completed the sale of Corbis Images to Unity Glory. We are confident that Unity Glory and VCG will further develop that business in China and other parts of the world and wish them well going forward. It is clear that the advertising landscape is changing rapidly and we have tremendous opportunities for even more rapid growth as we advance product integration through our Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) platform and other entertainment advertising businesses." In addition to BEN, the rebranded Corbis Entertainment will continue to provide rights representation for celebrities and iconic personalities, as well as operate its market-leading celebrity content business. Corbis Entertainment's roster of represented iconic personalities includes: Albert Einstein, Steve McQueen, Marvin Gaye, Bruce Lee, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Sophia Loren and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. among others. VCG's Ms. Liang added, "We wish Corbis Entertainment well on their future development, and look forward to exploring future partnership opportunities with them in China as they grow their BEN and celebrity content businesses."
Corbis was represented by Allen & Company LLC in the sale of Corbis Images.
About Visual China Group Ltd.
Visual China Group ("VCG" or "the Group") is a leading visual communications and new media business in China, and among the largest image licensing companies in the world. VCG owns and manages China's largest premium digital visual content platform, and is the first destination of choice for creative and media professionals to purchase and manage such content in China. Through its online licensing and copyright distribution platform VCG.com, the Group offers products including still imagery, videos, music, multimedia and other digital content to approximately 15,000 advertisers, media outlets, businesses and other organizations in China. It also operates China's largest and most popular branded online communities for designers and photographers. The Group further connects consumers and businesses with its capabilities in licensing and advertising across multiple sectors. Through Tungstar.com, the Group provides premium entertainment content and integrated marketing solutions to media agencies, advertisers, film-makers, producers and celebrities. Through a strategic entry into tourism, education and other sectors of high relevance to visual communications, the Group also leverages its core competence to capture the strong consumer demand for visual content.
Founded in 2000, VCG was the first company in China to license image and distribute copyrights through propriety online platforms, and has grown into a well-recognized player in the industry. In 2014, VCG was listed on the main board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (000681.SZ) and commands one of the industry's largest market capitalizations. The Group has over 600 employees, with subsidiaries in major cities in Greater China including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
About Corbis Entertainment
Corbis Entertainment connects global brands to consumers through the power of entertainment. Our core competencies include product integration, entertainment public relations, music licensing and partnerships, rights clearances and representation, talent seeding and negotiation.