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Hasbro capitalises on weak pound with US$4 billion eOne acquisition

My Little Pony owner Hasbro has acquired indie studio Entertainment One (eOne) in a surprise $4bn all-cash deal. 

The acquisition will see the US play and entertainment brand – which is the parent company of labels such as My Little Pony, Transformers and Power Rangers – adding eOne’s global brands such as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks to its portfolio, along with an extensive film and TV business that includes TV titles such as Sharp Objects, Deputy and The Rookie.

Under the deal, eOne shareholders will receive £5.60 ($6.86) in cash for each common share of eOne. The combined business will also see top eOne execs joining the Hasbro team, according to a joint statement from the businesses.

Hasbro has a market cap of $13.69bn, while eOne’s market cap is $2.21bn.

Hasbro has said the eOne acquisition will allow it to “bring to market its IP in increasingly attractive new formats, including OTT and premium platforms, music, location-based entertainment, AR and VR.”

The business is understood to view live action and animation as new avenues through which to leverage its franchises, particularly for SVOD platforms and networks.

Brian Goldner, chairman and CEO of Hasbro, said: “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.

“In addition, Hasbro will leverage eOne’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. We are excited to welcome eOne’s talented employees from around the world into the Hasbro family.”

Darren Throop, CEO of eOne, added: “Hasbro’s portfolio of integrated toy, game and consumer products, will further fuel the tremendous success we’ve achieved at eOne. There’s a strong cultural fit between our two companies; eOne’s stated mission is to unlock the power and value of creativity which aligns with Hasbro’s corporate objectives.

“EOne teams will continue to do what they do best, bolstered by the access to Hasbro’s extensive portfolio of richly creative IP and merchandising strength. In addition, the resulting expanded Hasbro presence in Canada through eOne’s deep roots will bring world class talent and production capabilities to Hasbro. Along with our leadership team, I look forward to working with Hasbro on our joint growth and success for many years to come.”