“eOne is on the rise. They’ve had a great couple of years, and they’re getting more diverse and more aggressive in the things that they do,” Techstars Music boss Bob Moczydlowsky told Music Ally yesterday, in our interview about the accelerator’s next program. He’s not the only one viewing film, TV and music firm Entertainment One with admiration though. Later yesterday, Hasbro announced that it was buying the company for a cool $4bn in cash.
It’s one of the biggest acquisitions in the music space in recent times, but here’s the thing: how core will music really be to whatever Hasbro has planned for eOne? The announcement of the acquisition is certainly much more about the TV/films side of the business. “The acquisition of eOne adds beloved story-led global family brands that deliver strong operating returns to Hasbro’s portfolio and provides a pipeline of new brand creation driven by family-oriented storytelling, which will now include Hasbro’s IP,” as Hasbro boss Brian Goldner put it.
Or to put that another way: Hasbro isn’t paying $4bn to get its hands on the Wu-Tang Clan or Blueface (one of 2019’s emerging hip-hop stars), it’s more interested in Peppa Pig – admittedly she released her first album last monthand has 237,000 monthly Spotify listeners, even if she’s lacking the guest spots from Cardi B, Lil Pump and Offset that have propelled Blueface’s career forward. eOne is also behind the ‘Baby Shark Live’ tour that’s visiting more than 100 US and Canadian cities this year, so on a serious note, the company’s music activity does have some relevance to Hasbro.
Even so, news of the deal will undoubtedly fuel speculation about what changes there might be (if any) to eOne’s non-family music operations. The company’s music revenues grew by 30% to £64.4m ($78.6m) in its last financial year, but that was just 6.8% of the company’s overall revenues. Peppa Pig alone generated £90.2m. From artists like Wu-Tang Clan, The Lumineers and Blueface to production-music subsidiary Audio Network – acquired in April this year for $215m – there will be keen interest on what happens next for eOne’s music arm.
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