November 17, 2022
Hasbro Nov. 17 announced it is looking to unload Entertainment One (eOne), the Canadian-based television and movie studio/distributor it acquired in 2019 for $3.8 billion.
The decision comes as new CEO Chris Cocks (who replaced former CEO Brian Goldner after his passing from cancer) launched an internal strategic review process, which, along with the board of directors, authorized a sale process for the part of its eOne TV and film business not directly supporting Hasbro’s content strategy.
Hasbro reported any sale would not impact its capability to develop and produce animation, digital shorts, scripted TV and theatrical films for audiences related to core Hasbro IP.
What is included in any sale would be eOne’s 6,500-plus title content library; the non-Hasbro branded film and scripted TV business, which produces and finances content, including recent theatrical release, The Woman King, Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” and ABC TV’s “The Rookie” franchise; Hasbro’s interest in Entertainment One Canada Limited’s Canadian film and TV business; and Hasbro’s unscripted division that includes the “Naked & Afraid” franchise, among others.
“The acquisition of eOne delivered fantastic talent, top tier production and deal making capability and beloved brands with strong toyetic potential including Peppa Pig,” Cocks said in a statement. “We will retain these terrific capabilities while exploring the best way to maximize the value of the eOne TV and film business for the benefit of our shareholders.”
Indeed, any potential sale might mirror recent media asset deals conducted by AT&T, which spun off minority stakes with majority operational control of the former WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery) and DirecTV.
Meanwhile, Hasbro plans to significantly increase strategic investment in key brands, with a focus on gaming, direct to consumer, franchise brands and licensing. Those include “Peppa Pig,” “Transformers,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Magic: The Gathering,” “My Little Pony,” “Power Rangers,” “Play-Doh” and Hasbro’s portfolio of board games, including “Monopoly” and “Clue.”
The company plans to maintain development, production and financing capabilities to support its core brands across film, TV, animation and digital shorts. These projects include the development of new IP such as the recently announced “Kiya and the Kimoja Heroes” that is scheduled to premiere on Disney Junior and Disney+ in 2023.
The company has retained J.P. Morgan and Centerview Partners to assist with the sale process.