UK competitions watchdog CMA to probe Hasbro’s $4bn takeover of eOne

Hasbro’s $4bn takeover of Entertainment One is to face probing from the Competition and Markets Authority over whether the proposed acquisition would result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ under UK rules.

It appeared that the bid was a done deal in all but its name when eOne and Hasbro directors and investors approved the acquisition proposal earlier this year. However, a final hurdle has been placed in the road as the CMA expects to start its investigation this week.

The CMA was deeply involved in scrutinising the sale of Sky, which was bought by Comcast at auction. The CMA is in place to watch over takeover bids that hand a lion’s share of the market to one entity. It’s been active in spiking discussions of mergers between big name UK grocers in the past.

Hasbro made its surprise $4 billion all-cash deal for the film and TV studio eOne in August this year. Entertainment One is the powerhouse behind pre-school hits such as Peppa Pig, PJ Masks, Ben and Holly, and the newly launched Ricky Zoom.

When it announced the deal, Hasbro said that ‘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 nw brand creation driven by family-oriented storytelling, which will now include Hasbro’s IP.”

The CMA’s timetable for the investigation has already been laid out, commencing on Friday this week. It will determine whether the matter needs further investigation by January 21, 2020.

Hasbro already has a wealth of popular TV and film properties to its name, including Transformers, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Power Rangers.

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