Hasbro has confirmed the sale of Entertainment One (eOne) to Lionsgate for $500M, which should close by the end of this year.
Speculation had been intensifying that confirmation was incoming, with Deadline revealing several weeks ago that Lionsgate was in pole position to buy the majority of the on-the-block Woman King and Yellowjackets studio. The news came in the hours preceding Hasbro’s Q2 earnings call.
Hasbro bought eOne for $4B in 2019 but will sell for just $500M, consisting of $375M in cash, subject to certain purchase price adjustments, and the assumption by Lionsgate of production financing loans. Hasbro said the transaction has been approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors and remains subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals. It will use the proceeds to retire a minimum of $400M of floating rate debt by the end of the year.
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“This sale fully aligns with our strategy, and we are pleased to bring the process to a successful close,” said Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks. “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.”
He said Hasbro “looks forward to partnering” with Lionsgate in the future, especially on the upcoming movie adaptation of Monopoly.
Lionsgate has bought eOne’s scripted and unscripted TV production, all film production and related global distribution, a 6,500-plus title content library and Hasbro’s interest in eOne’s Canadian film and TV business. Hasbro holds on to the Family Brands division, which houses staples such as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks.
In preparation for the potential sale, eOne has undergone multiple rounds of layoffs over the last few months that impacted about 20% of the indie studio’s film and television staff. Hasbro’s plan, announced in January, involved cutting 15% of the company’s global workforce this year, or about 1,000 positions, and we subsequently revealed that eOne was closing its theatrical operations in the UK.
Lionsgate, whose vice chair Michael Burns sits on the Hasbro board, is meanwhile in the process of separating its film and TV studio from Starz.
Hasbro bought eOne in 2019 for $4 billion when the company was divided into three divisions: Music, which has been sold; Family Brands, which Hasbro has rolled into its brands licensing and merchandising operation; and Film and TV. Hasbro previously sold eOne’s music business to private equity firm Blackstone in 2021 for $385 million.
J.P. Morgan and Centerview Partners served as lead financial advisors to Hasbro in the transaction. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Mayer Brown International LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP are acting as legal counsel to Hasbro and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP are acting as legal counsel to eOne Canada Limited.
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