Lionsgate is set to buy Hasbro’s Entertainment One film and TV business for $500 million.
In Nov. 2022, Hasbro announced it was putting eOne up for sale and retained J.P. Morgan and Centerview Partners to assist with the sale process. The toy maker acquired the Toronto-based studio in 2019, which houses most of its entertainment assets.
The sales process was jump-started by eOne founder Darren Throop announcing he would finish out his employment contract and then leave the company at the end 2022. But Throop wasn’t long in seeking financing from CVC Capital Partners, a Luxembourg-based private equity firm with other media interests, to possibly buy the film and TV production and distribution unit back from Hasbro.
eOne has a film and TV library with around 6,500 titles and a branded film and scripted TV business that produces and finances content like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, The Woman King, Yellowjackets and The Rookie franchise.
Hasbro acquired eOne in 2019 as part of a $4 billion all-cash transaction. At the time, Hasbro looked to the eOne deal to build the toymaker into a media contender as it combined the indie studio’s film and TV unit with its own.
The pandemic disrupted that media strategy with a Hollywood production shutdown and delays in content deliveries as the industry reopened. More recently, Hasbro, under newly installed CEO Chris Cocks, has turned its focus to becoming a digital gaming powerhouse after fending off a proxy battle with an activist investor, Alta Fox Capital Management.
After selling off the eOne division, Hasbro is looking to reinvest in fewer, more profitable properties, and to do so with outside partners to reduce costs and risk.