CMA probes Hasbro’s eOne takeover

Published on: November 21st, 2019

The Competition and Markets Authority is considering whether the deal might result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition’.

Entertainment One’s agreed £3.3b takeover by Hasbro could be held up by an investigation by the UK antitrust watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Thursday that it was considering whether the deal, which was agreed for a cash price of 560p per share in August but has not yet completed, might result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition’.

Inviting interested parties to comment, the CMA set a deadline of 21st January 2020 for it to decide whether or not it will refer the merger for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

The acquisition bid, which was announced in August, could ultimately see eOne brands such as Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Ricky Zoom join Hasbro. An independent TV producer, eOne also produces adult TV series such as Designated Survivor and The Rookie, produces films, and recently moved into music publishing and artist management. It was reported in October that 99.9% percent of eOne shareholders approved the deal, either in person or via a proxy vote, during a special shareholders meeting in Toronto. Hasbro shareholders did not vote on the transaction; the board of directors had already voted to back the deal.

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