Hasbro buying eOne is more than about Peppa Pig — its music: CEO

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Welcome to the adult-themed music industry, beloved children’s toymaker Hasbro (HAS) .

For now, at least.

Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner is bullish on the music industry. But, Goldner said he will need some time following the close of the acquisition of Entertainment One (aka eOne) to decide how to move forward with its music portfolio.

“We'll wait until the deal closes over the next few months, and then take a good look with management about where we want to go. We like the music business. Everybody's using music. We use a ton of music between our advertising, our television, our films. Other people in video are using a lot of music. It's a very profitable part of their business. It's a smaller part of their business. I want to look at everything before we decide which pieces we lean into and which pieces might be available to not lean into,” Goldner tells Yahoo Finance.

As part of Hasbro’s $4 billion acquisition of U.K.-based Entertainment One — creators of top children’s programming such as Peppa Pig and the adult series “The Walking Dead — the Mr. Potato Head maker will gain a solid position in the music industry. Entertainment One is one of the largest independent publishers in the music business, working with scores of top artists. The company also has a live events outfit for its music division.

In this April 27, 2018 photo, hand cranked fans with Peppa Pig theme are seen during the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, China. The cherubic British cartoon character, Peppa Pig, has become an unlikely target of China's censors as online fans use her porcine likeness in sardonic memes and "gangster" catchphrases. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

And the strength of the music offering shows up in the division’s financial results.

Entertainment One’s sales surged 30% to 64.4 million pounds for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. It said in its full-year report the music division’s operating profits increased 46% to 8.9 million pounds.

The company credited strength in streaming music and live events for the rather good performance.

One interesting wrinkle to this mega deal is that family-friendly Hasbro gains access to controversial music label Death Row Records. Death Row — founded by the now jailed music mogul Suge Knight in 1991 — has played home to rap music greatness such as Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur. Entertainment One acquired Death Row in 2013.

“There's more to the music business than just that one label. We want to get into this business thoughtfully. Obviously, I think, the Death Row label has been more about PR than performance. It's a very small part of their portfolio, but we'll look at everything,” Goldner added.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-host of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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