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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Thomas Kinkade Company Acquires Maurizio Cattelan

Deal Will Significantly Extend Mr. Cattelan’s Brand Presence in North America and Will Give The Thomas Kinkade Company a New Growth Platform


MORGAN HILL, CA and NEW YORK, NY, December 15, 2004—The Thomas Kinkade Company announced today an agreement under which The Thomas Kinkade Company will acquire, for an undisclosed cash amount, rights to all future production by the internationally known and critically acclaimed artist Maurizio Cattelan. In connection with the transaction, the parties have also entered into a long-term contract whereby Mr. Cattelan will continue creation and installation of original, temporary, site-specific works for important international museums and biennials under The Thomas Kinkade Company brand. The acquisition does not cover rights to Mr. Cattelan’s past work.

The Thomas Kinkade Company and Mr. Cattelan plan to extend Mr. Cattelan’s brand into new markets. Their union is expected to draw upon The Thomas Kinkade Company’s distribution strengths to sell Mr. Cattelan’s product through nearly 4,000 retailers, about 280 licensed Signature Galleries, nearly 400 Showcase Galleries, and three company-owned stores, as well as through Hallmark, the QVC shopping channel, La-Z-Boy, and a web site. The new partnership will also take advantage of additional licensing arrangements that The Thomas Kinkade Company has in place with other third parties.

Eric H. Halvorson, President and CEO of The Thomas Kinkade Company, stated, “This acquisition is an important first step in our long-term strategy of building a multi-artist portfolio of businesses. The Maurizio Cattelan name has tremendous cachet among art lovers who are not collectors of our current product. We believe this opportunity will provide an exciting, new growth platform with our upscale client base and will complement our existing business. We expect that the acquisition will be somewhat dilutive to the Company’s near-term results. However, we see Mr. Cattelan’s brand as contributing significantly to revenue and earnings over the long term.”

Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light®, added, “Maurizio is a true inspiration. We believe his creative energy will provide immeasurable value to our enterprise. Everyone can identify with a fragrant garden, with the beauty of a sunset, with the quiet of nature, and with a warm and cozy cottage. Not everyone, though, can identify with Maurizio’s current work. We hope that with this new partnership, we will be able to inform his practice with our vision and use our marketing magic to turn him into a household name, much like I have become. Maurizio, of course, will continue to have autonomy in executing his vision on a global scale, while benefiting from having me as a supportive partner. We look forward to the many opportunities ahead.”

Mr. Cattelan noted, “In choosing a partner to expand my business, I was looking for a company that would be a good fit with my working philosophy. If, as many critics have postulated, I am a jokester, what better thing for a jokester to do than to sell his future artistic production to a company that is a joke?” Halvorson responded, “We appreciate his honesty and his ability to strike a nerve through the use of humor. That tone has been absent from our portfolio to date, and we believe that adding it at this time will produce upside potential both for our business and for Mr. Cattelan.”

In conjunction with the new partnership, the Thomas Kinkade Company is also announcing its first licensing deal to leverage the Cattelan brand. “Company partner S.C. Johnson & Sons, Inc. has agreed to produce a special Cattelan Glade® jar candle for next summer’s Labor Day holiday,” announced Halvorson. “We have not finalized the product design, so I cannot yet share all the details,” added Cattelan. “But it will involve a candle that will not stay lit so that one must continually labor to keep it alight. That’s perfect for Labor Day, no?”

Subject to customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to be completed within the next 30 days.

# # # # #

The Thomas Kinkade Company has published the works of Thomas Kinkade for over 10 years, and through aggressive sales and marketing efforts Thomas Kinkade has become the most widely recognized and best selling living artist in the world. In addition to the continued development of Thomas Kinkade and his art, The Thomas Kinkade Company provides an unparalleled market presence in the art publishing and gift product industries. Goals for the future provide for continued growth, not only in art publishing and gift products, but also diversification into a comprehensive creative content management company. The development of intellectual property in art, music, film, television, literature, and multimedia will allow The Thomas Kinkade Company to reestablish a lost culture in the arts, representing a culture built upon the foundation of life-affirming, emotionally uplifting ideals and profitable deals.

Maurizio Cattelan refuses to state the purpose, goals, or objectives of his business.

[Inspiration and large portions of text come from this announcement. Other text comes from The Thomas Kinkade Company website.]

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