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Hasbro in talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation

MUMBAI: Toymaker Hasbro Inc is in talks to acquire animation studio DreamWorks Animation.

Under the proposed deal, Hasbro would pay a mix of cash and stock, though an exact price has not been determined yet.

The talks with Hasbro come more than a month after discussions with Japan’s Softbank fell apart.

Hasbro has a 40 per cent stake in Discovery Family Channel, previously called the Hub. The company also has lent its products to films like ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’.

Variety reports that a merger is said to take place in at least 60 days, with Hasbro being asked to pay $35 a share for DreamWorks. If the deal goes through, DreamWorks Animation chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg would become the head of the combined Hasbro-DreamWorks entity.

DreamWorks Animation has for quite some time now been diversifying into television, online video and theme parks to reduce its dependence on the hit-or-miss film business.

If the two companies merge, it would create the only film studio to own a toy production business. Studios typically license their film and TV properties to Hasbro or rival Mattel.

Hasbro currently produces playthings for Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm’s ‘Star Wars’ and Rovio’s ‘Angry Birds’ franchise.

The toymaker’s own brands include Transformers, G.I. Joe, Candy Land, Monopoly, Risk, Ouija, My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Care Bears and Magic: The Gathering.

While DreamWorks could benefit through consumer products, Hasbro could exploit its properties at theme parks and entertainment centres. It currently has rides for ‘Transformers’ at Universal Studios resorts.

The studio is also considering selling a stake of its online entertainment network for teens, AwesomenessTV, to Hearst Publishing for $81.5 million in another potential deal, state reports.