Lionsgate has recently made a significant move by acquiring Entertainment One’s (eOne) TV and film operations from Hasbro for an estimated sum of around $500 million. The deal is anticipated to be finalized before the year’s end.
This development comes almost four years after Hasbro initially declared their intention to acquire eOne in a substantial $3.8 billion agreement back in August 2019. The decision to sell now reflects Hasbro’s strategic alignment, as they continue to prioritize their own branded entertainment strategy.
The sale includes a talented team of employees and a content library boasting nearly 6,500 titles. Additionally, it encompasses active productions for non-Hasbro owned intellectual properties (IPs) such as the renowned ‘The Rookie,’ ‘Yellowjackets,’ and ‘Naked and Afraid’ franchises.
Part of the deal is also the eOne unscripted business, along with rights for certain Hasbro-based shows, including ‘Play-Doh Squished.’ Moreover, Hasbro’s stake in the Canadian film & TV operations of eOne Canada Limited is also included in the transaction.
In light of the acquisition, Hasbro CEO, Chris Cocks, expressed his satisfaction, stating that the sale aligns perfectly with their strategy. Lionsgate’s experienced management team is expected to drive value and provide a suitable home for Hasbro’s eOne film & TV business. Cocks further revealed their collaborative plans with Lionsgate on a movie adaptation of the popular board game, Monopoly.
Despite this sale, entertainment remains a top priority for Hasbro, with a continued focus on developing and producing entertainment based on their vast array of owned brands.
They are also keen on introducing fresh, original ideas that fuel various sectors of Hasbro’s blueprint, including toys, publishing, gaming, licensed consumer products, and location-based entertainment.
As part of this sale, Hasbro intends to adopt an asset-lite model for future live-action entertainment, relying on licensing and partnerships for select co-productions.
Last November, Hasbro announced its intention to sell assets from eOne, particularly those that didn’t directly support the company’s branded entertainment strategy. Nevertheless, they plan to retain the capability to develop and produce animation, digital shorts, scripted TV, and theatrical films related to core Hasbro IP.
Meanwhile, popular IPs under the family brand division such as “Peppa Pig,” “Transformers,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Magic: The Gathering,” “My Little Pony,” “Power Rangers,” “Play-Doh,” “Monopoly,” and “Clue” were excluded from the deal.
These IPs will continue to receive substantial development, production, and financing support across film, TV, animation, and digital shorts through Hasbro’s brands licensing and merchandising operation.
Preceding the potential sale, eOne implemented various cost-cutting measures. These included laying off 10% of its film and television staff in 2021, followed by the sale of the studio’s music division to The Blackstone Group for $385 million.
Early in 2023, Hasbro also announced laying off around 15% of its global headcount, equivalent to approximately 1,000 positions. Additionally, last month, eOne decided to shut down its U.K. theatrical distribution business.
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