Rumors that Disney is completing its march to mono-corporation by purchasing toy titan Hasbro have been going around. We have no dog in that hunt, so we reached out to our pal Paul Nomad who has his finger on the pulse of the toy biz like no one else, and his sources confirm the two companies are in talks. Before that he also offered some thoughts:

The better question would be why would they WANT to buy Hasbro? Hasbro has licenses with both Star Wars and Marvel.
Cutting that off (in a sense) would mean a significant drop in profits I’d think. You could say they would then own all of Hasbro’s IP’s, but if Battleship has taught us anything, it is that those board game movies may not pan out. On the other hand….My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop and Strawberry Shortcake would add more girl power to their stable…Playskool would provide their own mast head under which they could unleash all their own Disney toys…and there’s the little license called Transformers to reboot in films and license to the planet.

Now if you want a collector’s standpoint, it could potentially be excellent. Not having to pay for licensing for SW and Marvel SHOULD mean reduced prices across the board (which probably wouldn’t happen even if they could), BUT they could take more chances with items like vehicles, playsets and other products that are costly to develop. When you cut out the significant licensing fee, there’s a lot more they could do (coughdeathstarplaysetcough).

While I agree with the boy/girl franchise analysis, I’m pretty sure that among different Disney divisions, they still have to pay each other “Disney dollars” to keep the ledgers balanced. Still, I’m not sure I see the sense in Disney owning a toy company either—the Mouse is much better at licensing than manufacturing. But you don’t become the mono-corp without thinking big, so…


  1. Well, one bonus would be Disney’s ability to ensure that, say a Bumblebee spin-off movie wouldn’t come out the SAME weekend that a Rocket Racoon spin-off movie came out. Also if Disney proper just let the people at Hasbro that know about making and selling toys keep on keeping on (kinda like they are with Marvel comics, thus far) it just might work.

    My Rocket Racoon movie idea prompts me to wonder who will be doing his voice in The Guardians of the Galaxy movie? Any suggestions? Ah, this is probably a “wish-list” thread in another comic forum.

  2. Oh, snap, Alexa! Sure enough Parker Brothers is currently a subsidiary of Hasbro. And straight outta wiki:”Rom The Space Knight” was a toy co-created by Bing McCoy, Scott Dankman, and Richard Levy (US Patent #4,267,551).[1] It was sold to Parker Brothers, and was the inspiration for the comic book series.[2] The toy was originally called COBOL (after the programming language,) which was later changed to “Rom” (after ROM, read-only memory) by Parker Brothers executives.”

  3. Hasbro itself is giant, having acquired most competitors in the 1980s, 1990s.
    Here’s who they own (via Wikipedia):
    Avalon Hill (an imprint of Wizards of the Coast, see below)
    Child Guidance
    Claster Television, Inc. [formerly Romper Room]
    Larami (name is now retired and part of the Nerf brand)
    Milton Bradley
    Parker Brothers
    Selchow and Righter [Scrabble, Parcheesi, Trivial Pursuit]
    Tiger Electronics
    Wizards of the Coast
    TSR, Inc.

    Lots of big names.

    Why buy Hasbro? Why should Marvel make movies, instead of licensing movies? MORE MONEY. Instead of a licensing fee from Hasbro, you OWN Hasbro. Keep that company running independently (like Pixar and Marvel) and well, and the status quo remains, although the bottom line is moved up a few inches on the financial reports.

    Recent analysis here:
    3Q earnings: $1.3451 Billion

    What does this mean for Mattel, which has Disney licenses?

    Is there anything remaining from ToyBiz?

  4. Yes, there are a LOT of game licenses, so over all it would be an immense purchase. This would be an INCREDIBLE purchase not only for Disney, but for MARVEL specifically. They would be able to ONCE AGAIN publish (once licenses at other companies expire) books with not only the recently acquired STAR WARS (after a nearly thirty year absence), but also the TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE, ROM THE SPACEKNIGHT and the MICRONAUTS (the Microverse was most recently seen again in Avengers #32)! This would also grant them the licenses for Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, Care Bears and Dungeons and Dragons (which includes the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance).

    Amongst the highlights of this acquisition(not already mentioned above): Easy Bake Oven, Lincoln Logs, Lite-Brite, Mr. Potato Head, Nerf, Play-Doh, Pound Puppies, Spirograph, Stretch Armstrong, Tinkertoy, Tonka trucks, Weebles. They would also acquire via Parker Brothers/Milton Bradley/TSR/Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast: (again, not a complete list) 13 Dead End Drive, Aggravation, Axis and Allies, Battleship, Boggle, Bop It!, Candy Land, Connect Four, Cootie, Cranium, Clue, Diplomacy, Don’t Break the Ice, Don’t Spill the Beans, Gamma World, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Jenga, The Game of Life, Magic: The Gathering, Mall Madness, Mastermind, Mille Bornes, Monopoly, Mouse Trap, Mystery Date, Operation, Pay Day, Pictionary, Risk, Rubik’s Cube, Scattergories, Scrabble, Simon, Sorry!, Statego, Trivial Pursuit, Twister, Upwords, Yahtzee

  5. Nice bit of sleuthing.

    Micronauts: Tomy owns the IP, Hasbro is in talks to license.
    Strawberry Shortcake, owned by American Greetings.
    Care Bears, American Greetings.
    Seven Towns owns the rights to Rubik’s Cube.

    Marvel stopped publishing Star Wars as part of their 25th anniversary celebration, so 25 years since they last published.

    Here’s Hasbro’s list of properties:
    Some are licensed from other sources (like Zynga).

    And you missed Jem and the Holograms!

  6. Doesn’t Disney want to create anything original on its own?

    The way it’s going – it’s ‘let’s buy up all these other companies and they can do the hardwork’… and yet Disney sits on an amazing body of art and characters themselves…

  7. They’ve got Marvel and Lucasfilm. Now they’re eyeing Hasbro. This keeps up, Disney will, eventually, own my entire childhood.

  8. Marvel created the characters’ backstories for Transformers and G.I.JOE.
    (And possibly My Little Pony.)

  9. Transformers is a Hasbro property, so if this happened, IDW would presumably lose the licence. (Which would be a shame, actually, as their current two main Transformers books are surprisingly good. James Roberts in particular is a very strong writer, but since he came up through Transformers fandom and has only worked on Transformers books, nobody in the rest of the industry has noticed.)

  10. Hasbro has since said they aren’t talking to Disney and issued a denial.
    You can make you’re own conclusions, it could be several months before they confirm a purchase.

    And yes, yes, Transformers was originally published by Marvel and right now the current EIC overseeing TFs at IDW used to work at Marvel. As was GI Joe and Star Wars.

    Marvel gets a slight uptick of 0.8% in their market share if this purchase ever were to go through and licenses shifted. Clearly these aren’t huge comics properties saleswise as they once were.

  11. The Micronauts toy line was the Americanized version of Takara Tomy’s Microman line. The Transformers line spun out of the Microman toy line (in part via the Microman subset/spin-off line Micro-Change/Diaclone) that included the original, handgun version of Megatron. Since Hasbro long-ago bought the Transformers license outright from Takara Tomy, it’s not really a stretch to figure that a Disney-owned Hasbro would be able to get the Microman license.

    That is, if they didn’t already have it. Micronauts has already been in the early stages of development as a potential movie franchise under J.J. Abrams since Abrams entered an overall development deal in conjunction with Paramount for most of Hasbro’s toy lines, news that specifically included Micronauts because Abrams wants them, several years ago. From here, the US side of the Micronauts/Microman IP is almost as convoluted as the ongoing Miracleman kerfuffle, but regardless, Hasbro has had the entire license for a while.

    I would imagine that within a few days of any Disney-Hasbro deal, we’d hear news of Marvel being assigned the Micronauts comics license. Bill Mantlo added so much to Marvel’s pre-existing Microverse/Sub-Atomica concept via the Micronauts license and the parts of it that Marvel retained under its own copyright — Commander Rann, Bug, Marionette, the Enigma Force spiritual entity, Captain Universe, Homeworld and the Worldmind concept, just to name a few — that writers who have used the Microverse concepts over the past few years in various Hulk titles, Guardians of the Galaxy and the current Minimum Carnage crossover story in the Venom and Scarlet Spider titles and even Wasp’s return in the Avengers have been straining against the limitations of not having access to the characters from the toyline, especially Acroyear and Baron Karza and their personal mythologies.

    Nevertheless, even aside from my own interest as a Micronauts fan in an increasingly likely sale of Hasbro to Disney, the Transformers and G.I. Joe properties in and of themselves would make the toy company and the Mouse a great fit. If I were a Paramount executive, I’d certainly be frustrated, though.

    One more thing: I would like to see Hasbro and Marvel not wait for a sale of Hasbro to Disney and just license Micronauts to Marvel now — the Mantlo-Golden run especially deserves color remastering and reprinting, possibly with a special edition hardcover via the Hero Initiative to benefit Bill Mantlo.

  12. Hmmm. I have reasons.
    Mr potato head can be related to toy story
    G.I. Joe was dead, then revived with help from marvel comics so every GI Joe movie they make marvel comics gets credit
    There are negatives.
    Lego marvel, star wars, princesses, ecetra ecetra goes kre-o
    New Hasbro shows end up like ultimate spiderman.
    But hey most stuff originally marvel goes marvel (except mlp)
    But Disney can make live action mlp movie
    This all might happen 2015

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