Hasbro Buys Entertainment One for $4 Billion

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The toy maker acquires the studio and its Peppa Pig and PJ Masks kids properties and a global film and TV production and distribution business.

Toy maker Hasbro has acquired Canadian studio Entertainment One as part of a $4 billion all-cash transaction.

The deal, unveiled Thursday after the market close, hands Hasbro eOne's Peppa Pig and PJ Maskskids series and top properties. Under the terms of deal, eOne shareholders will receive $6.80 in cash for each common share, which Hasbro said represents a 31 percent premium to its 30-day average price.

Hasbro will use debt and equity financing to fund the takeover of eOne, which trades on the London Stock Exchange.

"The acquisition of eOne adds beloved story-led global family brands that deliver strong operating returns to Hasbro’s portfolio and provides a pipeline of new brand creation driven by family-oriented storytelling, which will now include Hasbro’s IP,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro chairman and chief executive officer in a statement.

eOne, the subject of periodic takeover speculation in recent years, has recently shaped its business around Designated Survivor producer Mark Gordon and eOne Television; the family unit, driven by its Peppa Pig and PJ Masks franchises; international sales and production operation Sierra/Affinity; partnership in Amblin Partners with Steven Spielberg, Participant Media and Reliance Entertainment; and Brad Weston's film and TV producer Makeready.

The Canadian company also has a substantial TV library along with theatrical distribution companies in Canada, the U.K., Benelux and Australia.

Mark Gordon and eOne more recently rejigged their relationship, with the veteran Hollywood producer shifting to production after serving as president and chief content officer for film, television and digital, leading all creative units.

Hasbro said "top eOne executives have agreed to join the Hasbro team," without identifying who they might be. "Along with our leadership team, I look forward to working with Hasbro on our joint growth and success for many years to come," eOne CEO Darren Throop, who will continue to lead the indie studio, said in his own statement.

Hasbro, known for its toy-to-film properties like Transformers and G.I. Joe, touted the acquisition for accelerating his company's "brand blueprint strategy" by adding eOne's family brands and film and TV expertise.

"Hasbro's portfolio of integrated toy, game and consumer products will further fuel the tremendous success we've achieved at eOne," Throop added.

In the year ended, March 31, 2019, Entertainment One reported net income of 197.6 million pounds ($257.34 million) on revenue of 941.2 billion pounds ($1.225 billion). Within that the company’s music operations, which includes the Dualtone label and Last Gang, and a diverse catalog of heritage hip-hop music, gospel, classical and jazz music, garnered revenues of 64.4 million pounds ($83.9 million). 

According to its website, its catalog includes music from Ace Frehley, DJ Drama, Crowbar, Black Label Society, Brandy, Guy Clark, Lalah Hathaway, Lil Kim, Lisa Knowles, Music Soul Child, Tegan and Sara, Pop Evil, Snoop Dogg, Souja Boy and Zakk Wylde.

A version of this story was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter. 


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