Toy and games firm Hasbro has agreed to sell its eOne film and TV business to Lionsgate for $500 million.
The sale will include eOne employees, a content library of nearly 6,500 titles, active productions for like The Rookie, Yellowjackets and Naked and Afraid franchises, and the eOne unscripted business.
Hasbro said it would use the proceeds of the deal - consisting of $375 million in cash and the assumption by Lionsgate of production financing loans - to retire a minimum of $400 million of debt by the end of the year, and for other general corporate purposes. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2023.
Lionsgate is the US’s largest independent studio, home to franchises such as John Wick, Twilight, The Hunger Games and Saw. It also runs the Starz streaming platform.
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Hasbro acquired eOne in 2019 for $4 billion. At the time, Hasbro planned to use eOne to build it into a major media player as it combined the indie studio’s film and TV unit with its own.
In November, Hasbro announced that it was putting eOne up for sale as part of a strategy review.
Hasbro said that after the sale it will significantly increase investment in priority brands, including in animations such as Peppa Pig, Transformers: EarthSpark, and My Little Pony: Tell Your Tale.
The company will retain a team of creative development and business affairs execs to shepherd over 30 Hasbro-based projects in development, working with studios and distribution platforms in Hollywood. This includes the ongoing development of the Transformers and GI Joe franchises, Play-Doh, D&D and Magic: The Gathering, and Hasbro’s board game portfolio.
“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. We look forward to partnering with them, especially on a movie adaptation of Monopoly.”