Merger Deal Between Hasbro and Dreamworks Animation Reportedly Dead

It’s been widely reported that merger negotiations between Hasbro and DreamWorks Animation have been called off, due in part to the stock performance of Hasbro, as well as the high asking price by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Hasbro reportedly ended conversations on Friday, for reasons that included a $30 share price asked for by Katzenberg. Some analysts deemed that price high. In addition, the possible merger had a negative effect on Hasbro’s stock–it fell on both Thursday and Friday–which is said to have concerned execs at the company.

The deal would have been worth at $2.3 billion, as reported by Variety.

By joining forces with DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro would have had the means of increasing its film and TV presence, while in theory, DreamWorks would have benefited from a more diverse revenue stream via Hasbro. DreamWorks’ properties include Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar. Hasbro, meanwhile, owns such toy brands as Transformers and G.I. Joe.

Hasbro in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation

Hasbro logoAs initially reported by Deadline, Hasbro Inc. is in early talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG. The deal would give the toy maker, which has clout with major retailers, an animation studio that just recently began diversifying beyond the movies.

For each company, a deal could help accelerate movement beyond their core businesses. DreamWorks Animation has expanded into consumer products in recent years, but still lags behind Walt Disney Co., while Hasbro recently sold off some of its stake in the Hub cable network.

dreamworks_animation_logoThrough its relatively new film label, Allspark Pictures, Hasbro has movies in the works based on its toy brands, My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms. It is also launching a new Transformers cartoon series on the Cartoon Network, having had trouble edging in on children’s networks Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.

Should a deal be reached, it would likely come during the next two to four weeks, and would result in a family entertainment powerhouse to be called DreamWorks-Hasbro, according to a source in the article. Hasbro could also have management of the new entity already in place: On Wednesday, the company appointed Stephen Davis, who has led Hasbro Studios since its launch in 2009, to the role of executive vice president, chief content officer.

In this new role, Davis will be responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms. He will also work closely with Hasbro’s president and chief executive officer, Brian Goldner, to oversee Allspark Pictures (This aspect of Davis’ role was announced prior to news about the possible Hasbro-DreamWorks deal), as well as franchise films such as Transformers that are produced in partnership with major studios.

Spirit Halloween to Host Annual Spirit of Children Program

SpiritofChildrenSpirit Halloween will continue its annual Spirit of Children program, which brings Halloween cheer and festivities to hospitalized children by hosting more than 84 events in conjunction with Child Life departments throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Special guests at select Spirit of Children parties will include Warner Brothers’ Batman, Saban‘s Power Rangers Super Megaforce; Nickelodeon‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, and Bubble Guppies; DreamWorks Animation‘s Puss in Boots, Skipper from Penguins of Madagascar, and more.

This year, Spirit of Children’s goal is to raise $5.2 million—bringing its total contribution to more than $21 million donated since the program’s inception in 2006.

Shoppers can donate to the Spirit of Children program online or in a Spirit Halloween location. The funds raised will go to the location’s closest hospital. Spirit Halloween shoppers who make at least a $2 donation will receive a Spirit of Children bracelet.

All funds raised are donated to participating Child Life departments across North America and focus on the emotional and psychological well being of hospitalized children while doctors and nurses focus on their medical needs.

Disguise Inc. to Produce DreamWorks Halloween Costumes

DisguiselogoDisguise Inc. has entered into a licensing agreement with DreamWorks Animation to manufacture and distribute DreamWorks branded Halloween costumes and accessories.

The partnership includes the rights to create kids and adult costumes based on DreamWorks heritage properties such as Shrek and VeggieTales, as well as upcoming movie releases Penguins of Madagascar, Home, and How to Train Your Dragon 3.

dreamworks_animation_logoThe costumes will be available at retailers nationwide for next year’s Halloween season.

With DreamWorks Dragons Adventure World Explorer, Berk Goes Where You Go!

PowerPoint PresentationWe’ve all taken rides in cars, but honestly, haven’t we all found ourselves wishing we could be soaring on the wings of dragons instead?

That’s now a possibility, thanks to DreamWorks Dragons Adventure World Explorer, a new mobile game from Microsoft and DreamWorks Animation, and inspired by the animated film, How to Train Your Dragon 2. It uses Here Maps to pull in GPS info, turning the real world into the user’s very own fictional Isle of Berk.

During a recent demo, we took the game on a tour of midtown Manhattan. In Train mode, many of the city’s mighty edifices appeared in the game as huge stones, landmarks such as Grand Central Station became a wagon repair shop, and Chelsea Market was besieged by Vikings (They correspond to check-ins for the popular app Foursquare). Meanwhile, players engage in missions as part of their dragon training, such as picking up and dropping off sheep at home base–the device, represented in the game map by a cart. [Read more...]

Snap Creative Launches Collectible Toys for Five Summer Blockbusters

SnapCreative.TransformersSnap Creative will release five collectible and promotional toy programs at movie theaters worldwide for the summer’s top blockbusters. The launch is rolling out throughout the summer, coinciding with the releases of DreamWorksHow to Train Your Dragon 2, Paramount and Hasbro’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Movie-going fans can collect two or three different highly detailed figures or key chains from each feature, along with reusable cups and popcorn packs. These collectible packages will be available in theater chains worldwide in the U.S., China, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, and more.

Fuhu Morpho Pods Bring DreamWorks Dragons to Life

DragonsFuhu, the maker of the nabi tablet, has created a new tablet-based immersive play experience called Morpho Pods, connecting physical and digital play in different ways. Using advances in near field communication (NFC) technology, Morpho Pods merge toys, video games, interactive storybooks, and custom animation.

With the Morpho Pods Dragons Edition, kids can now connect to DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon films through new adventures and stories that provide a variety of digital interactive experiences. [Read more...]

Little Orbit to Publish How To Train Your Dragon 2 Video Game

March19.Dragons2Little Orbit has partnered with DreamWorks Animation to bring the How to Train Your Dragon 2 video game to consoles across major platforms. The release of the game will coincide with the theatrical release of How to Train Your Dragon 2 this June.

The game lets players go on an adventure as a dragon rider, and features tournament events, mini-games, training exercises, and characters from the movie. It was developed by Torus Games and will be available for the Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and Playstation 3.

Funko Goes Pop! for How to Train Your Dragon 2

Funko.Dragon.2Hiccup, Toothless, and rest of the gang return to screens in DreamWorks Animation‘s How To Train Your Dragon 2, which arrives in theaters this June. In April, Funko will be releasing favorite characters from the series in Pop! form, alongside some new dragons.

DreamWorks Animation and Fuhu Inc. Launch the DreamTab

dreamworks_animation_logoDreamWorks Animation and Fuhu Inc. have partnered to develop the DreamTab, a new tablet specifically designed for kids. The DreamTab will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show before its launch to U.S. retail this spring. There will also be an international release later this year.

The tablet will include a Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant email, texting, and sharing; an education system aligned to Common Core Standards; and advanced parental controls.