The company behind Peppa Pig is to be bought by US toy giant Hasbro for £3.3bn.
The maker of Monopoly and G.I. Joe said the acquisition of London-listed Entertainment One would “dramatically enhance” its storytelling capabilities.
Under the terms of the deal, Entertainment One shareholders will receive £5.60 in cash for each share, sending its shares up by nearly 30% on Friday.
The Nasdaq-listed company’s shares fell by 4% after it also said it would suspend its share buyback programme while it works to pay off the transaction.
It said it expects to finance the transaction with $1bn to $1.25bn (£1.02bn) in cash by raising capital from shareholders.
Toronto-based Entertainment One produces other children’s cartoons including PJ Masks and new preschool series Ricky Zoom.
Brian Goldner, Hasbro chairman and chief executive, said: “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, which will now include Hasbro’s IP.”
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Entertainment One bagged Peppa Pig’s intellectual property after it acquired 70% of London-based animation studio Astley Baker Davies in 2015 for £140m.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell called the tie-up “logical” but questioned if interest from other companies might be the start to a bidding war.
He said: “Hasbro is the master of a milking a brand to sell all types of merchandise and so it is the perfect owner of Entertainment One which boasts an ever-increasing portfolio of popular children’s brands seen on the screen and on the shelves.
“It wouldn’t be surprising to see Amazon or Netflix want to throw their hat in the ring given how Entertainment One has such a big library of content which they need in order to keep customers loyal to their streaming platforms.
“Perhaps more logical would be a counterbid from Disney given it is part owner of the PJ Masks brand alongside Entertainment One.”
Peppa Pig, which follows the life of a pink cartoon pig and her family, has been translated into more than 40 languages and is broadcast in more than 180 countries.
A joint statement by both companies said the show had “thrived for over a decade” and “extended itself to new profit streams that continue its success”.
Darren Throop, chief executive of Entertainment One, said there was a “strong cultural fit” between the two companies.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of the year.
It comes after London-listed companies have become more attractive with foreign buyers due to the weakness of the pound.
The UK’s biggest listed pubs and brewery group Greene King was most recently acquired in a £4.6bn deal by Hong Kong’s richest man.
SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/hasbro-to-buy-peppa-pig-owner-entertainment-one-for-3-3bn-11791710