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Entrepreneur Shane Yeend’s Imagination Entertainment buys 50% of export start-up Aussie Inc

Friday, 7 December 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Up-and-coming export start-up Aussie Inc has received a major leg-up from global entertainment company Imagination, which has purchased a 50% stake in the business.

 

Founded in 2009 by Todd Miller, Aussie Inc represents Australian companies trying to sell their products in the United States and Canada.

 

Earlier this year, it signed a major deal with US wholesale grocery distributor C&S Wholesale, in a move that will see Australian products introduced into as many as 12,000 US stores.

 

Aussie Inc, which has a direct- to-retail model, also works with the likes of Wal-Mart and Kmart.

 

The company has grown more than 150% year-on-year over the last three years, from three products to 24, spanning eight industry sectors.

 

Now, it’s been confirmed Imagination has purchased a 50% stake in cash and kind in Aussie Inc, although the financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

 

Imagination, led by chief executive Shane Yeend, is an entrepreneurial global games and media company with offices and distribution in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

 

As part of the deal, Imagination will create a new combined business called Imagination Consumer Products, with offices in the US and the UK, and a head office in Adelaide.

 

Aussie Inc will become a division of ICP. Over the coming years, it will form a part of Imagination’s retail distribution process.

 

Miller, meanwhile, will head up ICP as its global president, reporting to the Imagination board. He described the deal as an exciting time not only for himself but for Aussie Inc.

 

“Imagination’s global infrastructure and access to retail accounts covering 85,000 storefronts is a great opportunity for me – I will head up a global team of seasoned professionals,” Miller says.

 

“At the same time, it will fast track growth for Aussie Inc clients and products.

 

“The big opportunity [for me] is the taking over of the Imagination Games line – this is exciting.

 

“Eight weeks ago, Imagination secured global rights to 50 Shades of Grey, and a party game based on the book will be launched across the world next week.

 

“This presents an opportunity not seen since Harry Potter.”

 

According to Yeend, Imagination is “back in the games business in a very big way” following the acquisition of several companies and brands, including Aussie Inc.

 

“We have been impressed by Todd and the team he has assembled over three years,” Yeend said in a statement.

 

“The Imagination executive team believe that we can add real value to the Aussie Inc business and product family… and [Miller] will be a great topper for our ICP business.”