The transaction has been approved by Hasbro and Entertainment One Canada’s board of directors, and is subject to customary closing conditions and receipt of regulatory approvals. The property has been on the market for several months.
eOne Music will be acquired by entities controlled by Blackstone, which also owns the performing rights organization SESAC. Subsequent to the closing of the transaction, eOne Music will operate as a separate business unit headed by its current global president Chris Taylor, and “will focus on building a creator-first music brand with global scale and expertise,” according to the announcement. eOne was acquired by Hasbro for $4 billion in 2019, largely for the synergies offered by its successful film and TV unit, which includes such hits as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks.”
eOne’s music roster includes the catalogs of ‘90s rap giant Death Row, Dualtone Records, Canadian indie Last Gang as well as titles by the Lumineers, The Game, Ace Frehley, Brandy, Chuck Berry, En Vogue, Ghostface Killah, the Strumbellas, RZA, and others, although not all were direct signings.
“This transaction will ensure that eOne Music is well positioned to unlock great opportunities for its many talented artists and partners, as Hasbro continues to focus on the core strategic elements of our Brand Blueprint to further strengthen our position as a purpose‐led play and entertainment company. On behalf of the Board and Hasbro management, I want to recognize the strong leadership of Chris Taylor and the entire eOne Music organization,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s Chairman and CEO.
“I’m excited to continue to lead and grow this exceptional business. We want the creative community to know that we are focused on making sure that this only benefits them and the work we do together. I also want to thank Brian Goldner and Hasbro for their support and partnership,” said Taylor.
According to the announcement, Hasbro intends to use its net proceeds from the sale to accelerate deleveraging and other general corporate purposes.
As part of the transaction, Entertainment One Canada Limited will sell the Canadian music division.
J.P. Morgan is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Hasbro on 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 Entertainment One Canada Limited.
Subject to customary closing conditions and receipt of regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2021.