Unless you've been living in an ice cave on planet Hoth for the past week you know Disney has been making some pretty big headlines. There's the 2015 date for The Avengers 2, the surprise purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd., and their plans to begin producing a new Star Wars film trilogy to launch in 2015 as well. That seemed like the end of the big news, but then on Monday we heard rumors that Disney was next setting their sights on purchasing mega-giant toy company Hasbro. Hasbro is no stranger to acquisitions like this, They themselves have purchased such companies as Kenner, Tonka, Galoob, and Milton Bradley over the years.
While this purchase has always been considered a rumor rather than something that's actually taking place it did seem very plausible. After all, no one knew the Lucasfilm deal was happening until it happened and caught everyone off guard. But the Providence Journal is reporting that when asking if there was any truth to the rumors reporters were met with a policy of not responding to rumors or speculation, effectively denying the rumor. Advisers have also told CNBC's David Faber that there's "absolutely nothing going on here that they're aware of at all, in any way, shape or form." Of course things do change and Faber does mention that it's only "at this point" that it's only a rumor. Fact is Hasbro's stock jumped up 6.8% just on this rumor alone, a sign that if such a thing were to happen the market is behind it. Perhaps that's the type of push a deal like this needs to start rolling?
The Providence Journal also reported that Wall Street analysts have stated that for such an acquisition to take place Hasbro would have to dissolve their licenses with Disney's competitors, but I don't believe that's entirely true. Certainly Disney wouldn't want to share their newest asset with other companies, but that didn't stop them from purchasing Marvel Entertainment which continues to have movie and theme park deals with Universal Studios to this day. And as Hasbro licenses go, they don't have a lot that would be affected. Of their five most recognizable series, three, Transformers, G.I.Joe, and My Little Pony, were created in-house by Hasbro, while the other two are Star Wars and Marvel, both now owned by Disney. Same can be said about their other major toy lines, they're either owned outright by Hasbro or they're made in a Disney image.
More and more this seems like a deal where Disney would have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain. They'd get ownership of many big nostalgic brand names and board games, plus another TV network in the Hub and its catalog of cartoons and TV shows, to say nothing of having their own monster of a toy company. Will they do it? Maybe not tomorrow, but I think it could happen. There's no reason for it not to and it certainly seems like the timing is right.