Lionsgate In Pole Position On Entertainment One Acquisition: The Dish

EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has established pole position to acquire the Hasbro-owned Entertainment One, sources tell Deadline.

Since Hasbro declared it was shedding all but its core business, Lionsgate has been oft-mentioned as a suitor, as has Legendary. The two indie studios have been more recently bidding for the eOne film and TV assets alongside distributor GoDigital Media Group, with former eOne CEO Darren Throop launching another effort to raise financing. As Deadline has reported, Fremantle and CVC Capital Partners also were potential buyers earlier in the process.

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eOne has been changing also pre-sale. Nick Meyer left the company, and eOne underwent a round of layoffs that impacted about 20% of the indie studio’s film and television staff.

“This workforce reduction is part of the ongoing transformational changes Hasbro announced in January to substantially reduce costs and increase growth rates and profitability,” Hasbro spokesperson Roberta Thomson said in a statement to Deadline, declining further comment at the time.

Hasbro’s plan, announced in January, involves cutting 15% of the company’s global workforce this year, or about 1,000 positions.

The eOne assets that have been put up for sale by Hasbro include all scripted and unscripted TV production (except for the Family Brands division housing such staples as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks), all film production and related global distribution, a 6,500-plus title content library and Hasbro’s interest in eOne’s Canadian film and TV business.

Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks said in February that “we expect to have an update in the second quarter,” so the sale process was projected to wrap by June 30 but has stretched beyond that and is ongoing.

M&A has slowed down in Hollywood amid overall economic woes and two strikes, one with the WGA and one with SAG-AFTRA.

Hasbro bought eOne in 2019 for $4 billion when the company was divided into three divisions: Music, which has been sold; Family Brands, which Hasbro has rolled into its brands licensing and merchandising operation; and Film and TV. Hasbro previously sold eOne’s music business to private equity firm Blackstone in 2021 for $385 million.

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