US toy maker Hasbro has agreed to buy Entertainment One, the owner of the children’s cartoon franchise Peppa Pig, for about £3.3bn ($4bn), the latest UK-listed company to be acquired by a foreign buyer as the country stares down Brexit this Halloween.
Under the terms of the deal, shareholders of Entertainment One, which is headquartered in Toronto but listed in London, will receive £5.60 in cash for each common share, a 26 per cent premium on the company’s closing price on Thursday.
The purchase will add a slate of new brands to Hasbro’s portfolio, as the toy maker known for the Monopoly board game and Play-Doh moulding clay seeks to bolster its pre-school business.
“Hasbro will leverage [Entertainment One]’s immersive entertainment capabilities to bring our portfolio of brands that have appeal to gamers, fans and families to all screens globally and realise full franchise economics across our blueprint strategy for shareholders,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro chairman and chief executive officer.
Hasbro said it would finance the transaction with new debt as well as $1bn-$1.25bn in cash from a sale of new stock in the company. Bank of America has agreed to provide a bridge loan to fund the takeover.
The US company added that it intended to maintain its quarterly dividend but would suspend share buybacks as it works to pay off the debts it will borrow to finance the deal.