Hasbro has cut a deal to buy the company that owns popular children’s cartoon Peppa Pig, expanding its push into entertainment with a bet on preschoolers.
The US toymaker said Thursday that it had reached an agreement to buy Entertainment One for $4 billion. The entertainment company, which trades on the London Stock Exchange, owns the animated brands PJ Masks and Ricky Zoom.
Entertainment One also owns Death Row Records, the notorious label co-founded in Los Angeles by rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, who is serving a 28-year prison sentence for manslaughter. The record company has released multi-platinum hip-hop albums by artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac.
The deal would combine those brands with Hasbro’s popular titles, including My Little Pony, Transformers, Play-Doh, Monopoly and Power Rangers.
“Hasbro will leverage eOne’s immersive entertainment capabilities to bring our portfolio of brands that have appeal to gamers, fans and families to all screens globally,” Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement.
The deal, which is still subject to some regulatory approvals, is expected to close by the end of this year. Top eOne executives will join the Hasbro team, the companies said, without naming the executives.
But shares of eOne shot up more than 35% Friday, climbing above the price Hasbro agreed to pay. That sparked speculation that eOne could receive a competing bid.
That includes a partnership with Netflix, which said in June it would make an animated series based on Hasbro’s “Magic: The Gathering” trading card game.