Mid-afternoon Thursday, Variety online broke the news that American toy and board game company Hasbro is acquiring Toronto-based studio Entertainment One (eOne) in an all-cash transaction valued at US$4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks and furthering Hasbro’s growth goals in the infant and preschool categories.
Overnight, Reuters reported Peppa Pig-owner Entertainment One's shares rose more than 30% to a record high Friday on the London Stock Exchange, surpassing the price agreed by the company's board with U.S. toymaker Hasbro Inc in a sign that investors see some chance of a counter offer.
According to the news agency, Entertainment One, which started life as Canadian record and tape retailer(Records on Wheels, reported a 21% rise in annual underlying core earnings to 198 million pounds (about C$322M) in May, driven by growth in family and brands business as well as higher margins in its film, television and music unit.
eOne is the largest integrated Canadian entertainment firm that is head-officed in Toronto and operates worldwide, with more than half its revenues coming from film and television sales outside North America.
After years of looking for an entertainment company to buy, including dalliances with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro has finally locked up a deal that “can take their business to another level,” Gabelli & Co. analyst John Tinker told the LA Times late afternoon Thursday. “If they want to make larger films, they are equipped to do so.”
eOne’s Music Division, helmed by entertainment lawyer and entrepreneur Chris Taylor, has staffed offices in Toronto, Victoria, LA, New York, Nashville, Hamburg, Munich, Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, and Amsterdam. It is also considered to be the largest independent music label in North America. The division includes record labels –Dualtone (Lumineers), Last Gang (Death From Above), Light Records and Death Row (Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac), management, music publishing, and a live entertainment division.
According to eOne’s LinkedIn page, the company has 1,553 employees worldwide.
The Company's rights library, valued at US$2.0B (as at 31 March 2018), is exploited across all media formats and includes about 80,000 hours of film and television content and approximately 40,000 music tracks.
In its most recent annual report, eOne reported revenue of £941.2M or roughly the equivalent of $1.53B Canadian.
-- Sources: eOne website, Bloomberg, Reuters, Variety, The LA Times