Hasbro, the firm behind such iconic brands as Monopoly, My Little Pony and Power Rangers, announced that it will acquire the UK-listed Entertainment One (eOne) for about £3.3bn (US$4.0bn).
eOne owns the Peppa Pig children’s TV cartoon franchise, which is hugely popular in China where it was first aired in the early 2000s, as well as the fast-growing children’s animated brands PJ Masks and Ricky Zoom. The company also distributes TV shows, such as the Hunger Games, and has further interests in music and emerging content.
Hasbro described Peppa Pig as an “evergreen property” that has thrived for over a decade while also extending itself to new profit streams. The company expressed confidence about the growth potential for PJ Masks and Ricky Zoom, just two of a “slate of additional brands” under development.
“eOne’s capabilities to bring high-quality content across platforms will strengthen Hasbro’s end-to-end ability to monetize and bring to market its IP in increasingly attractive new formats, including over-the-top (OTT) and premium platforms, music, location-based entertainment, AR and VR,” the statement read.
The all-cash deal, which is expected to realize cost savings of $130m by 2022 and to close at the end of this year, also attracted attention in the British media because eOne is just the latest UK-listed company to be taken over by a foreign buyer since the pound weakened over fears of a chaotic no-deal Brexit.
Recent acquisitions and buyouts have included the £4.6bn purchase of Greene King, the 220-year-old pub and brewery group, a £4bn buyout of aerospace and defence supplier Cobham, as well as Netherlands-based Takeway.com’s £5bn acquisition of Just East, the food delivery firm.
Meanwhile, Mattel announced that it was launching its Hot Wheels Infinite Loop digital racing game at the Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany, and that the game would be available as a free download on iOS devices.
Mattel franchises such well-known brands as Barbie, Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends, but this was the first time the company has struck out on its own in the gaming space, The Drum noted.
“In digital gaming, we’ve started to invest in titles that we can self-publish, so we can have direct line of communication to our users in a direct to consumer model,” said Andrew Chan, Mattel’s head of digital gaming.
“In certain pockets where we feel like there isn’t a great licensing partner available or we feel like there’s an opportunity for our brands to shine, we will invest and launch games ourselves. We can put marketing dollars against it, and we can also control the content.”
Sourced from Hasbro, Mattel, Financial Times, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff