Hasbro board votes to exit DreamWorks merger talks

By Reuters

Nov 18, 2014 03:49 AM EST

Merger talks between Hasbro Inc and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc formally ended on Monday morning, when the toy company's board voted to walk away, according to a person with knowledge of the board's actions.

Discussions had cooled after members of the board visited DreamWorks' Glendale, California studio complex, and press reports surfaced about the talks last Wednesday.

Hasbro's enthusiasm for the deal also waned after executives at Walt Disney Co's consumer product unit voiced concern about the possible arrangement, said another person familiar with knowledge of the situation. Disney and Hasbro had agreed on Sept. 24 for Hasbro to make dolls based on Disney's Princess and "Frozen" properties.

Both sources could not be identified because neither is authorized to speak publicly.

The maker of the "Shrek" and "Madagascar" film series was seeking $3 billion, or $38 a share, although Hasbro never made a bid, the person with knowledge of the Hasbro board said.

DreamWorks stock closed down 14 percent at $22.31 on the NASDAQ. Hasbro shares ended up 4.35 percent at $56.37 on the same exchange.

Hasbro Chief Executive Brian Goldner brought the idea of buying DreamWorks to the toymaker's board, after working closely with DreamWorks' Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg over several months on designing characters for the studio's movie based on its "Trolls" toy.

Hasbro board members one night last week had dinner with Katzenberg at the CEO's newly-built Beverly Hills home, and spent the next day at the studio.

The two companies signed a deal in 2013 for Hasbro to make toys inspired by DreamWorks' upcoming "B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations" and "Trolls" movies.

A Hasbro spokeswoman did not return emails. DreamWorks and Disney spokeswomen had no comment.

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