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Hasbro to expand into new age groups via existing brands and M&A

An image of a smart phone featuring digital game Baldur's Gate 3.

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hasbro has no immediate divestitures planned after selling film and TV studio Entertainment One for $500 million last August, chief revenue officer Matt Austin tells Axios.

Why it matters: The maker of toys and games is focused on its transformation, which could see Hasbro in the buyer's seat, not the seller's, Austin says.

Reality check: There's still plenty of work to complete Hasbro's plan, which includes cutting up to $300 million in costs, before becoming active in M&A.

The latest: "There's certainly nothing we're talking about at the moment," in terms of divestitures, Austin says. Hasbro will likely elect to license out properties instead, he says.

  • The licensing opportunity for Hasbro's portfolio of brands is massive, Baldur's Gate being the prime example and Peppa Pig being another, Austin says.
  • There's also a role for increasing brand awareness via licensing such as with Transformers' theme park rides.

State of play: Hasbro is looking at ways to either develop its existing intellectual property or pursue acquisitions to reach new customers, Austin says

  • The company is looking at deal opportunities of various sizes, Austin says.
  • "There are consumers we currently don't tap into, that we believe our IP could either stretch into or we need to develop new IP in order to do that," he explains.

Between the lines: Hasbro aims to "balance its IP with experts in their fields," such as teaming with Larian Studios, which made Baldur's Gate 3, Austin says.

  • The company uses a mix of strategies to get its products to market, whether it's the core toy business or gaming, he says.
  • In some cases Habro may handle everything from development to production to distribution for its toys or games.

Yes, but: In other cases it may only distribute a product for an IP it owns, or it licenses out that IP and collects a royalty.

What's next: The company is placing a big bet on bringing digital games to life, the fastest growing area of gaming, Austin says.

  • Exodus, a science fiction adventure, role-playing game is the latest example of that, he notes.

The intrigue: Digital games are "exploding" with the 45-to-65 age demographic, Austin says.

Follow the money: Augmented reality and virtual reality have also taken off, with players expecting more immersive experiences — but the high price point is the biggest barrier, Austin says.

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