On December 30, toy giant Hasbro (‘Star Wars’, G.I. Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony) became the owner of Death Row Records, the record label that defined ’90s hip hop with its roster of acts including Dr. Dre (co-founder), Snoop Dogg, and 2Pac. Okay, well, Hasbro didn’t set out to buy Death Row, but it was kind of the prize in the cereal box when they decided to acquire Entertainment One (or eOne) Ltd., a Toronto-based multimedia company, which is responsible for the popular kids brands Peppa Pig and PJ Masks. But it just so happens that eOne owns the Death Row catalog which includes such classics as “Nuthin’ But A G-Thang,” “Gin & Juice,” “Murder Was the Case” and of course “Bitches Ain’t Shit.”
To be clear, eOne is a MASSIVE company, and Hasbro paid handsomely for it– $3.8 billion. Once again, mainly just to acquire Peppa Pig and PJ Masks! Those two brands generated $114.9 million and $75.8 million, respectively in 2018.
In a statement, Hasbro’s chairman and CEO Brian Goldner expressed:
“We are excited about what we can do together and see tremendous opportunity for shareholder value creation through this acquisition. Our businesses are highly complementary with substantial synergies and a great cultural fit. The addition of eOne accelerates our blueprint strategy by expanding our brand portfolio with eOne’s beloved global preschool brands, adding proven TV and film expertise, and creating additional opportunities for long-term profitable growth.”
Long-term growth and “Deeez Nuuuts!”
In addition to the Death Row catalog, eOne has released albums under its own labels (Artemis and DualTone Records) from DJ Khaled, Hatebreed, The Lumineers, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg (post-DR), Tegan & Sara, and the Wu-Tang Clan.
eOne paid $280 million for all of Death Row’s assets in 2012, after its second bankruptcy.
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Among eOne’s notable films were last year’s Academy Award-winner for Best Picture ‘Green Book’, and 2019’s ‘Judy’ which is on track for the Oscars this year, as well as ‘I, Tonya’, ‘La La Land’, and ‘Insidious 2’ and ‘3’. eOne co-produced ‘My Little Pony: The Movie’ based on Hasbro’s property, and handled Canadian distribution. It also handled Canadian distribution for ‘Power Rangers’, which is now a Hasbro brand, although it wasn’t at that time.
eOne has produced TV shows including ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, ‘Growing Up Hip Hop’ and ‘Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta’, and ABC’s ‘The Rookie’.
Hasbro has been developing movies based on some of its toy brands. Perhaps this will give them a huge boost. However, it’s also quite possible that Hasbro only really wanted Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, and will sell off everything else. We’ll see!
Until then, maybe we can hope to see a Furby that talks like Snoop D-O-Double-G!