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Panini Announces Exclusive Agreement With Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

ARLINGTON, Texas – Panini America, Inc. is thrilled to announce an exclusive, multi-year marketing and licensing agreement with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Panini is already the exclusive trading-card licensee for the NBA and this new relationship with the Hall of Fame expands its global basketball presence.

"We're excited to have the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame join the Panini family," Panini America CEO Michael Eisenstein said. "This partnership is yet another building block within Panini's strategy to encompass all aspects of basketball. It's an honor to have this opportunity."

The timing of this partnership coincides with the historic induction of the 50th anniversary Hall of Fame Class of 2009, featuring Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan, John Stockton and C. Vivian Stringer. Panini representatives will attend this weekend's events in Springfield, Mass., including Friday's press conference

"We are pleased Panini has partnered with the Basketball Hall of Fame to showcase an extraordinary collection of trading cards and the unique and exclusive items of historical significance for the sport of basketball, the world's most popular and storied game," said John Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Highlights of the agreement include:

Panini becomes the "Official Marketing and Licensing Partner of the Basketball Hall of Fame," as well as the Hall of Fame's exclusive trading-card partner.

Panini gains the rights to produce Hall of Fame-specific products (memorabilia, trading cards, trading-card games and sticker album collections) and to use the Hall of Fame's brand and logo in advertising and marketing materials.

A cooperative effort between Panini and the Hall of Fame on such key events as the annual class announcement, college basketball's Hall of Fame Showcase and the Spalding Basketball Hall of Fame Hoophall Classic.

In January 2009, the NBA announced that the Panini Group was to become the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA beginning with the 2009-10 season. The Panini Group purchased the industry's second-oldest trading card company, Donruss, in March and formed the new subsidiary, Panini America, Inc. Since that time, Panini has taken significant steps to fortify its basketball landscape, including exclusive deals with recent No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin and former NCAA Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough.

"This agreement with the Basketball Hall of Fame presents another opportunity for Panini to expand its global vision, one that is rapidly becoming synonymous with the game of basketball," Peter Warsop, Panini's Group Licensing Director said. "This is another step toward Panini enhancing its reach around the world, one that already includes offices and or partners in more than 100 countries. We are already in the process of taking basketball into many of those markets which will now potentially include Hall of Fame content.  Given this and other, shortly to be announced, initiatives Panini are significantly on course to make a significant enhancement to Basketball Trading Card content, marketing and sales development"

About Panini S.p.A.
The Panini Group established almost 50 years ago in Modena, Italy with subsidiaries throughout Europe and Latin America as well as in Arlington Texas, is the world leader in the published collectable sector and the leading multi-national publisher of comics, children's magazines and manga in Europe and Latin America.  In 2008, the Panini Group had sales of over 900 million US$. The company has distribution channels in more than 100 countries and employs a staff of over 800.  
For Further Information within Panini;
USA;   Scott Prusha Phone: (817) 983-0303 www.paniniamerica.net
International;  Peter Warsop Phone; 44 7785 365366 www.paninigroup.com

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Panini UK Ltd - Level 2 - Brockbourne House - Mount Ephraim - Tunbridge Wells - Kent TN4 8BS (UK)
Tel. +44 1892 500100 - Fax +44 1892 545666