Hasbro buys eOne for $4bn; plans to move ‘significant portion’ of toy business in house

Hasbro will look to move a ‘significant portion’ of Entertainment One’s toy business in-house, following its £3.3bn acquisition of the British studio and majority share owner of the Peppa Pig brand.

The US toy maker agreed to the purchase of eOne this week, marking a major strategic step by Hasbro to build out its pre-school and children’s entertainment portfolio as it adds a slate of high performing brands to the staple.

Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Ben and Holly’s Magic Kingdom are some of the best-known pre-school titles from Entertainment One, each in their own a right a global success story across a multitude of territories. Its pre-school slate is bolstered by eOne’s newest launch, Rickey Zoom.

Peppa Pig turned 15 this year and according to eOne has generated £90.2m of revenue in the year to March 31, up 20 per cent from a year earlier as it has continued to gain traction outside of the UK.

Now, amid the announcement of the the acquisition, Hasbro has already set out plans to move a ‘significant portion’ of Entertainment One’s toy business in-house, and will attempt to ramp up the profitability of its licensing and merchandising operations. It will also welcome top executives from Entertainment One to the Hasbro team, who hopes to cut $130m in costs from the combined group by 2022.

To date, Jazwares and Character Options have been master toy partners for Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig property in the US and UK respectively. Just Play has headed up the PJ Masks toy line.

How this will look once Hasbro has implemented its plans for the toys going forward remains to be seen.

“Hasbro will leverage Entertainment One’s immersive entertainment capabilities to bring our portfolio of brands that have appeal to gamers, fans and families to all screens globally and realise full franchise economics across our blueprint strategy for shareholders,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro chairman and chief executive.

Hasbro will finance the all-cash transaction of £4bn with new debt, as well as $1bn – $1.25bn from a sale of stock in the company.

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