Activist Investor Ancora Has 1% Hasbro Stake

An activist investor with shares in Hasbro Inc.

YES 1.83%

and is backing another activist who waged a proxy war with the toy maker while they push the company to make further changes.

Ancora Holdings Inc. has a roughly 1% stake in Hasbro and wants it to explore the sale of all or part of Entertainment One, whose unit is focused on creating TV shows and other content, according to a letter the publisher wrote. activities submitted to the board of directors of the company. viewed by The Wall Street Journal. It also wants the company to replace longtime directors on its board.

Pawtucket, RI-based Hasbro has a market value of about $12.5 billion and sells brands including Play-Doh and Monopoly. Although it received a boost in the early days of the pandemic as shutdowns spurred parents to spend on toys, its shares are trading below where they were five years ago.

Ancora joins Alta Fox Capital Management LLC, a little-known activist that in February disclosed a 2.5% stake in Hasbro and nominated five directors to the company’s board. Alta Fox has urged the company to explore a spin-off of its rapidly growing Wizards of the Coast gaming unit, which includes games like Dungeons & Dragons. It also criticized the company’s $4 billion purchase of Entertainment One in 2019, known for its children’s show “Peppa Pig”.

Ancora said in its letter that Hasbro should replace longtime directors with Alta Fox nominees. The activist also said Hasbro should consider options for Entertainment One as it doesn’t fit well with the rest of the business and proceeds from sales could be reinvested elsewhere. Ancora also said Hasbro should continuously look at alternatives to the Wizards of the Coast unit that it believes the market is ignoring.

Hasbro earlier in April rejected Alta Fox’s call to scrap Wizards of the Coast, concluding that doing so would reduce the benefits the division received from the company’s longstanding, focused strategy into telling stories around its brands. It also added two directors to its board, an executive from chat app company Discord Inc. and a former executive of the game company Electronic Arts Inc.

EA 1.65%

Chris Cocks took over as Hasbro chief executive in February following the death of longtime CEO Brian Goldner last year.

Hasbro said in a statement that Alta Fox’s campaign began shortly after Goldner’s death and “is a distraction at a time when our new CEO should be given the opportunity to focus solely on business.” ours”.

Hasbro shareholders will vote on the position of director of competition on June 8, unless the two sides have settled by then.

Activist pressure comes as Hasbro’s rival Mattel Inc.

MAT 1.65%

has held talks with private equity firms about a potential acquisition, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. The two were stiff competitors for years, and in 2017 Hasbro made an unsuccessful offer to take over Mattel.

Cleveland, Ohio-based Ancora recently ran campaigns at companies including packaging maker Berry Global Group Inc.

VERY 1.05%

It is also part of a trio of activists that have joined the Bed Bath & Beyond retailers Inc.

BBBY 0.81%

and Kohl’s Corp.

KSS 1.57%

Write letter for Laura Cooper at laura.cooper@wsj.com

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Appears on May 3, 2022, print.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/activist-investor-ancora-has-1-hasbro-stake-11651533431?mod=pls_whats_news_us_business_f Activist Investor Ancora Has 1% Hasbro Stake

Edmund DeMarche

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