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Lionsgate closes deal to acquire eOne from Hasbro for $500 million

Lionsgate has acquired Entertainment One’s (eOne) TV and film operations from Hasbro for approximately $500 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

News of the sale — which broke just ahead of Hasbro’s Q2 2023 earnings call, scheduled for Thursday morning — comes nearly four years to the date when Hasbro announced their intent to acquire eOne in a $3.8 billion deal in August 2019.

According to a press release from Hasbro, “The sale will include a talented team of employees, a content library of nearly 6,500 titles, active productions for non-Hasbro owned IP like ‘The Rookie,’ ‘Yellowjackets’ and ‘Naked and Afraid’ franchises, and the eOne unscripted business, which will include rights for certain Hasbro-based shows like ‘Play-Doh Squished.’” The sale also includes Hasbro’s interest in the Canadian film & TV operations of eOne Canada Limited.

“This sale fully aligns with our strategy, and we are pleased to bring the process to a successful close,” Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement. “Lionsgate’s management team is experienced in entertainment and adept at driving value, and we’re glad to have found such a good home for our eOne film & TV business. We look forward to partnering with them, especially on a movie adaptation of Monopoly.”

Cocks continued, “Entertainment remains a priority for Hasbro. Hasbro will continue to develop and produce entertainment based on the rich vault of Hasbro-owned brands. We will also bring to life new original ideas designed to fuel all areas of Hasbro’s blueprint including toys, publishing, gaming, licensed consumer products, and location-based entertainment. As part of the sale, we expect to move to an asset-lite model for future live action entertainment, relying on licensing and partnerships with select co-productions.”

Last November, when Hasbro announced plans to sell its eOne assets, the toymaker noted that the sale would include the parts of the indie studio’s TV and film operations “not directly supporting the company’s branded entertainment strategy” and “Hasbro will maintain the capability to develop and produce animation, digital shorts, scripted TV and theatrical films for audiences related to core Hasbro IP.”

Meanwhile, popular IP in the family brand division like “Peppa Pig,” “Transformers,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Magic: The Gathering,” “My Little Pony,” “Power Rangers,” “Play-Doh,” “Monopoly” and “Clue” were not only excluded from the deal, but will see “significant development, production and financing capabilities” support across film, TV, animation and digital shorts as they’ve been rolled into Hasbro’s brands licensing and merchandising operation.

In preparation for a sale, eOne has been undergoing a series of cost-cutting measures. In 2021, eOne announced it would be laying off 10% of its film and television staff, followed by the sale of the studio’s music division to The Blackstone Group for $385 million. By early 2023, Hasbro revealed that it would be laying off some 15% of its global headcount, some 1,000 positions. Last month, eOne shut down its U.K. theatrical distribution business. Variety

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