UK watchdog looks at $4bn takeover of Peppa Pig-owner

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
A Peppa Pig Peppa's Stage playset by Character Options, which was named in the top 12 to buy during the unveiling of the annual DreamToys list at St Mary's Church in Marylebone, London. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether to launch a full investigation into the proposed $4bn takeover of Peppa Pig-owner Entertainment One (ETO.L).

Monopoly board game maker Hasbro (HASannounced a deal to buy Entertainment One in August.

The CMA said in a statement Thursday it was considering whether the £3.3bn ($4bn) deal would create a “lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

The watchdog called for people to get in touch to raise any potential objections. If the CMA judges that the submissions are serious enough, it will launch a full investigation into the takeover and could order changes or even block the transaction.

Hasbro has a commanding position in the global toy market and CEO Brian Goldner said at the time the deal was announced that the acquisition would provide a “pipeline” of family-oriented products.

As well as Monopoly, Hasbro owns well known toy brands like My Little Pony, Twister, the Power Rangers, and Transformers.

Entertainment One’s biggest property is the Peppa Pig franchise. The company also owns other kids shows such as PJ Masks and Ricky Zoom.

As well as kids shows and toys, Entertainment One also distributes film and TV. It works on shows like The Walking Dead and Ex On The Beach, and distributed the recent Keira Knightley film Official Secrets.

Entertainment One is also one of the largest independent publishers and owns Death Row Records, the Californian record label that broke rappers like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur in the 1990s.

Hasbro CEO Goldner told Yahoo Finance in August that Entertainment One’s music division was a draw in the deal.

“We like the music business,” Goldner said. “Everybody's using music. We use a ton of music between our advertising, our television, our films. Other people in video are using a lot of music.

“It's a very profitable part of their business.”