Axios Pro: Retail Deals

April 14, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Hello, Retail readers!

📆 Today at 12:30pm ET, please join Axios' Brady Dale and Lucinda Shen for a virtual event on trends in cryptocurrency. Register.

1 big thing: Hasbro makes a play

A Hasbro Nerf ball

A Hasbro Nerf brand football. Photo: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When Hasbro announced its deal for D&D Beyond yesterday, the agreement looked like both a smart complementary move for its gaming unit and a good defensive formation against its activist investor, Axios' Michael Flaherty writes.

Why it matters: The move comes as activist investor Alta Fox Capital Management pressures Hasbro into making strategic changes around the very division involved with this deal.

Details: Hasbro is buying D&D Beyond from Fandom for $146.3 million in cash. D&D Beyond is a digital toolset and gaming companion for Dungeons & Dragons.

Between the lines: D&D Beyond, which has 10 million users, will be absorbed into Hasbro's Wizards of the Coast division, which oversees Dungeons & Dragons as well as other gaming franchises like Magic: The Gathering.

  • Wizards of the Coast is the division that Alta Fox says Hasbro should spinoff.

Of note: D&D Beyond will give the toymaker more data on Dungeons & Dragons gamers that should help with product development, live services and tools, as well as regional expansions.

Catch up fast: Alta Fox has criticized Hasbro for going away from its core business too much and dragging down its stock price, specifically labeling its eOne purchase as "ill-advised."

  • Alta Fox, which owns 2.5% of Hasbro, nominated five directors to the company's 11-member board. Last month, Hasbro rejected a settlement offer that would have had only one of Alta Fox's nominees join the board.

The bottom line: Hasbro may well have been planning this purchase before Alta Fox showed up. Still, the deal shows shareholders that Hasbro has its own strategy when it comes to moving chess pieces around its gaming division.

View archive