- Hasbro is considering restructuring or selling off assets in its eOne entertainment studio, which Hasbro acquired in 2019 for $4 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw, who cited anonymous sources.
- Hasbro “can take the existing staff and redirect it to make branded entertainment (think ‘Peppa Pig’ movies), and shut down work on projects like ‘Yellowjackets’ and ‘Designated Survivor,’” Shaw wrote in Bloomberg’s Screentime newsletter, describing the options under consideration. “Or it can sell everything it doesn’t want.”
- Last week, Hasbro announced that eOne CEO Darren Throop plans to step down at the end of the year when his contract expires. The company has not announced a replacement yet but indicated it would share transition details closer to Throop’s departure.
When Hasbro bought eOne under former CEO and Chairman Brian Goldner, who died unexpectedly last fall, the company was getting both valuable new intellectual properties — including PJ Masks and Peppa Pig — of benefit to its toy business, as well as knowhow in producing entertainment, giving the company a direct channel to cashing in from media made out of its own properties.
“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,” Goldner explained in a press release at the time. “In addition, Hasbro will leverage eOne’s immersive entertainment capabilities to bring our portfolio of brands … to all screens globally and realize full franchise economics across our blueprint strategy for shareholders.”
With the acquisition, Hasbro’s entertainment revenue jumped from $77.8 million in 2019 to more than $900 million in 2020 and topped $1.1 billion in 2021. The last two years have also brought operating losses in the entertainment division, in part from acquisition costs related to eOne. Hasbro, as Shaw noted, also ran into the disruption to the film and television industry created by the pandemic.
Under new CEO Chris Cocks, Hasbro launched a comprehensive review of its strategy and operations earlier this year as it looks to grow operating profit and focus on multi-generation entertainment.
A Hasbro spokesperson did not comment specifically on the details of the Bloomberg report. “Entertainment is a core foundation at Hasbro,” the company said in an emailed statement. “As part of our strategic review process, we are always open to new and better ways to tell stories and bring people together through the power [of] play via our world-class family of brands.”
In April, Hasbro sold off one major asset from eOne — its music business — for $385 million.
Hasbro this year fended off a brush with activist investment firm Alta Fox, which had put forward a slate of three directors of its choosing to replace some current members of Hasbro’s board. Alta Fox pushed Hasbro to spin off its valuable Wizards of the Coast game business.
The activist firm also took a shot at eOne, saying in February that the acquisition “diluted Hasbro’s shareholders, added a substantial amount of debt to the balance sheet, complicated the investor narrative and destroyed significant value.”