D&D General Hasbro activist begins proxy fight, urges Dungeons & Dragons spinoff


I can't imagine people here are too nuts about financial news, but this caught my eye. It's behind a paywall, so I'll try to summarize.

From what I can tell, an activist investor is trying to make Hasbro spin off Wizards, claiming it'll double its valuation (apparently Wizards is making so much money off D&D and M:tG the company would do better on its own).

Would this be good for gamers, since Wizards would be free to focus on D&D and Magic, or is there something I'm missing?
 

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The question would be whether Hasbro is stable enough to spin off wotc and hold its own valuation. I would guess yes? They still own monopoly and lots of other games and IP that seem pretty solid.

IMO, investors taking note of d&d will not end well. These will be the people pushing wotc into digital products and pressuring them to produce ever increasing revenue and growth. I think if wotc makes a misstep in the next few years, it is because they get too ambitious, both with licensing and digital products. Like, this movie better be a hit or it's back to the drawing board.
 


"Hey this part is super successful you should cut it off" that doesn't make sense to me...

and I don't know that WotC would be better or worse or just the same without hasbro... but it grew this big WITH hasbro
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Because the stockholders who own the company would gain shares of WotC and make money? Profits would be siphoned off into stockholder dividends rather than folded into the larger company's margins.
That's the long and short of it, in terms of the upside of such a move. While Hasbro, as a corporation, wouldn't benefit unto itself, the individuals on Hasbro's board would almost assuredly be the people holding the majority of the stock in any scenario where WotC was turned into its own company. Since the idea is that its revenues would shoot up if it became its own corporate entity, those stockholders would gain a lot of money, and Hasbro as a corporation would likely survive the loss.

...at least, that's presuming I'm understanding the proposal correctly.
 

"Hey this part is super successful you should cut it off" that doesn't make sense to me...

and I don't know that WotC would be better or worse or just the same without hasbro... but it grew this big WITH hasbro
Think of it less as "cutting off" and more as "compartmentalizing." Keeping companies together can lower bureaucratic costs (since they share a common infrastructure) but can make it harder to turn investment into profit (since...they share a common infrastructure). Spinning off WotC as its own company would, in all likelihood, give every current (major) shareholder of Hasbro equivalent shares of the new company, so from the standpoint of "where does the money go" it would not change by doing the spinoff.

Yes, sometimes you spin off secondary components in order to then sell the separated company, but that's far from the only reason to do such separations. Sorta like how takeovers and buyouts don't always work the way one would think--it is actually possible to have a reverse takeover, where the company being bought is using the buyer in order to change its name (often for reputational reasons), while the board will keep all the members from the company being bought and cash out those from the company doing the buying.
 


Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Greed...definitely my second-favorite sin.

Now, what's the movie and what's the real quote?
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Devil's Advocate. Gimmie my prize.
 





South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
What a strange world we're living in! I remember some industry insider saying that one costume of a Barbie made more money than the entirety of the D&D hobby, and that was like a decade ago.
Yeah, I don't think this push to spin off would be happening if D&D weren't on a heavy upswing. As you say, it does indeed speak to just how much times have changed.
 

Okay so there is a limit to my knowledge, but, look at it this way. Hasbro has bought every major US gaming and toy company over the last 40 years. Hasbro currently owns the licenses for Hasbro, Milton Bradley, Avalon Hill, Ideal, Kenner, Marx, Mattel, Wizards of the Coast amd several others that are escaping me at the moment.

Barbie has always carried the Mattel logo except for a very small amount of time. The money still goes to Hasbro but Mattel is ran as its own brand. This is no different. They wouldn't be orphaning the company or even changing its operations, just sub-dividing the board, issuing separate stocks and allowing the WotC sub-board greater latitude in granting licenses. For the most part it would be business as usual for gamers.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Okay so there is a limit to my knowledge, but, look at it this way. Hasbro has bought every major US gaming and toy company over the last 40 years. Hasbro currently owns the licenses for Hasbro, Milton Bradley, Avalon Hill, Ideal, Kenner, Marx, Mattel, Wizards of the Coast amd several others that are escaping me at the moment.

Barbie has always carried the Mattel logo except for a very small amount of time. The money still goes to Hasbro but Mattel is ran as its own brand. This is no different. They wouldn't be orphaning the company or even changing its operations, just sub-dividing the board, issuing separate stocks and allowing the WotC sub-board greater latitude in granting licenses. For the most part it would be business as usual for gamers.
Mattel isn't owned by Hasbro.
 

So I have a policy that when I regularly send disposable income to one particular company I try to also spend a comparable amount of money buying stock in it (NOTE: not a recommended investing strategy). In any case I certainly would prefer if I could just own WotC stock without owning toy company stock, since I buy lots of WotC products and very little in the way of other Hasbro products.
What does the word activist in the title mean?

And what proxy fight?
An activist shareholder is someone who tries to use the voting power of their equity stake in a corporation to pressure management to take some course of action, usually through the threat of potentially replacing the board of directors, and thereby management, through shareholder voting.

A proxy battle is a hostile attempt to unseat the management (or otherwise vote against management if the corporation allows voting on other things by shareholders) by someone who does not directly have a controlling stake in the company. In a large publically held corporation most of the stockholders are never going anywhere near the shareholder's meetings, but can agree to let someone else cast their votes as a proxy, so in a proxy battle the two sides campaign to line up a bunch of the potential shareholder votes that otherwise would not be cast to support them.
 

Hasbro tried a merger with Mattel, but it failed. Or am I wrong?

WotC is now Hasbro's blue-eyed boy, with important plans for this in the future. Hasbro now is worried about how to make money with videogames and multimedia franchises. Hasbro wants to become the new Disney empire. And other reason is WotC as spin-off would be a littler fish in a sea full of sharks. You could bet megacorporations would try to adquire WotC.

Microsoft parnetship with Paramount and Hasbro, in my land we say "shepherds meeting, dead sheep" (when a group gathers, something is going to happen). I love to speculate about merger and adquisitions, but I am afraid this will be a year with a lot of surprises about this, or at least a lot of changes of chairs among the CEOs of the entertaiment industry.

Hasbro and the Chinese megacorporation Tencent are going to merger, and WotC will publish Fortnite d20: Save the world!!! (Disclaimer, for course I was kidding).
 

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