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US-based toy maker, Wicked Cool Toys (WCT), will hold the master toy licence for the global Pokémon brand outside of Asia, beginning in July 2018.

This change comes in the wake of The Pokémon Company International's (TPCI)strategic investment in Wicked Cool Toys, which now gives TPCI a seat on the WCT board of directors.

Under the terms of the new agreement WCT will hold the worldwide rights to manufacture and market action figures, play sets, plush, role-play items and toys based on the property, excluding those regions in Asia,where the brand is managed by TPCI’s parent organisation.

Pokemon's current master toy licensee, Tomy, will continue to act as a key licensing partner for the Pokémon brand and will produce select items, as well as products inspired by its video games.

In a statement released by WCT, development of Pokémon products under the new agreement has already begun, with initial items expected to hit retail in fall 2018.

TPCI's investment in Wicked Cool Toys will allow for enhanced collaboration in the development of Pokémon toys with the growing company.

The new deal follows TPCI's signing a similar agreement with Niantic, the developer and publisher of popular AR mobile game, Pokémon GO.

Wicked Cool Toys was founded in 2012, and its portfolio includes both its own proprietary brands as well as licensed brands including Cabbage Patch Kids, Teddy Ruxpin, MasterChef Junior, Wild Kratts, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shimmer and Shine.

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