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Hasbro shares surge after quarterly earnings

Profits down but top estimates; CEO touts strong film slate, TV

A ”Battleship” black eye notwithstanding, Hasbro’s devotion to the big and small screen led by global TV and digital deals padded sales last quarter as Hasbro’s stock surged well over 4% in midday trading, one of the biggest movers in a down market.

Entertainment and licensing revenue jumped 59% last quarter to $43 million, in part on coin from Netflix. CEO Brian Goldner touted the 2013 film slate and said the Pawtucket, R.I. toymaker is ”super-charging our business around television and our entertainment strategy.”

Net profit fell 25% to $43 million but still beat Wall Street estimates. Total revenue dipped 11% to $811 million.

The company cited tough comps in boys toys from the year-ago quarter when ”Transformers: Dark of the Moon” ignited the franchise. ”Battleship,” based on Hasbro’s classic game, did decent overseas business but sank at the domestic box office, doing little to spur sales. There are also some major trouble spots in Europe.

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Goldner ran through 2013 which boasts ”G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” ”Iron Man 3,” an untitled ”Star Trek” sequel, ”The Wolverine” and ”Thor: The Dark World.” He said Hasbro will partner with LucasFilm on a ”new event” he declined to name that he said Lucas will announce in late August at the Star Wars convention in Orlando. ”They do have major plans for 3D in 2013,” he said.

”We are in the early stages of unlocking our brands,” Goldner said.

Many of Hasbro’s film projects emanate from powerhouse Marvel, a unit of Walt Disney. Asked if that relationship could ever be at risk, Goldner said the Marvel contract runs through 2018.

”We have had a great long term relationship with the Walt Disney company. We have continued to work with Marvel and with Disney to super-charge the Marvel brand (and) we feel really good about our ability to innovate to spend on RandD and market it globally,” he said. He said Hasbro’s deep international bench in particular ”lines up with the growth of the motion picture business”

On the TV side, Goldner he said the Hub, a kiddie network Hasbro owns 50-50 with Discovery Communications, had the best quarter and best June ever with 54% ratings growth in total day for kids 2-11. He said the boost came in part from the summer lineup and from having earlier seasons of some shows available on other platforms. ”It gives us additional home to drive interest in the brands and merchandising around the brands.”

Hasbro expects $300 million dollars of TV revenue for 2012.

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