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Hasbro Buys Peppa Pig Owner Entertainment One In £3.3bn Deal

Hasbro Buys Peppa Pig Owner Entertainment One In £3.3bn Deal

Hasbro, the US toymaker behind My Little Pony and Play-Doh, has snapped up the Peppa Pig owner, Entertainment One, in a £3.3bn takeover, The Guardian reports.

The deal, which sent Entertainment One’s share price soaring by 30% in early trading on Friday, marks the latest UK-listed company to be targeted by a foreign buyer since the dramatic weakening of the pound over fears of a no-deal Brexit.

Earlier this week Hong Kong’s richest family bought the 220-year old pub and beer company Greene King in a £4.6bn deal. Last month the US private equity group Advent International agreed a £4bn buyout of the UK aerospace and defence supplier Cobham and the Netherlands-based Takeaway.com agreed a £5bn takeover of the UK-listed food delivery rival Just Eat. In June, Merlin, which operates attractions including Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds and Legoland, was taken private by a consortium including the family that controls the Lego toymaking empire.

The deal, the biggest in Hasbro’s history, is more than three times the amount ITV offered in an aborted takeover attempt three years ago. Entertainment One distributes TV shows including The Walking Dead and films such as the Twilight and Hunger Games series, and its recent film productions include the Oscar winner Green Book.

However, among its most-prized assets are its children’s brands, led by Peppa Pig but also including the fast-growing PJ Masks and Ricky Zoom.

The crown jewel is Peppa Pig, the muddy-puddle-loving pre-school character, which has become a multibillion dollar global brand spanning TV, merchandise and theme parks popular from the US to China. Entertainment One struck a co-ownership deal with the UK producer of Peppa Pig, Astley Baker Davies, in 2004 and moved to take control in a £140m deal in 2015.

“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,” Hasbro’s chairman and chief executive officer, Brian Goldner, said.

Entertainment One will join a stable of products owned by Hasbro – which has a market value of more than $14bn – including Monopoly, Power Rangers, Transformers and Nerf.

“There’s a strong cultural fit between our two companies,” said Darren Throop, the chief executive of Entertainment One. “Hasbro’s portfolio of integrated toy, game and consumer products will further fuel the tremendous success we’ve achieved at eOne.”

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