Global entertainment and toy company Hasbro has entered an agreement to acquire Toronto-based studio Entertainment One (eOne) for US$4 billion.
Hasbro will take ownership of the company’s entire film and TV production slate, including such unscripted series as WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop franchise; MTV’s Ex on the Beach and Siesta Key; BET’s Hustle in Brooklyn, Death Row Chronicles; Showtime’s Ready For War from director Andrew Renzi; and A&E’s Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G. as well as the Emmy-nominated LA Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later.
eOne will look to leverage its capabilities in high-quality scripted and unscripted television development and production in an effort to bolster Hasbro’s “end-to-end ability to monetize and bring to market its IP” in a variety of formats, including OTT and premium platforms, music, location-based entertainment, AR and VR.
Under the terms of the agreement, eOne shareholders will receive £5.60 (US$6.86) per common share, a 31% premium to eOne’s 30-day volume weight average price as of Aug. 22.
eOne executives are set to join the Hasbro team. The merged company will now include eOne’s network, which includes offices in Toronto, Los Angeles and London, among others.
eOne’s Canadian TV and film operations, however, will continue as a distinct Canadian-controlled business within the combined business.
“Hasbro’s portfolio of integrated toy, game and consumer products, will further fuel the tremendous success we’ve achieved at eOne,” said Darren Throop, chief executive officer of eOne, in a statement. “The resulting expanded Hasbro presence in Canada through eOne’s deep roots will bring world class talent and production capabilities to Hasbro.”
“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,” added Hasbro chairman and CEO Brian Goldner. “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 realize full franchise economics across our blueprint strategy for shareholders.”
Three years ago, eOne was the subject of a number of takeover rumors, including a confirmed bid from ITV, which proposed to buy the company for £1.03 billion (US$1.26 billion). In a note sent to shareholders at the time, eOne said the proposal “fundamentally undervalues the company and its prospects.” ITV subsequently withdrew the proposal.
With files from Playback’s Kelly Townsend