Hasbro

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Hasbro, Inc.
Formerly called
Hassenfeld Brothers
Hasbro Bradley
Public
Traded as
Industry
Founded December 6, 1923; 94 years ago (1923-12-06) (as Hassenfeld Brothers)
Founder
  • Henry Hassenfeld
  • Hillel Hassenfeld
  • Herman Hassenfeld
Headquarters Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Brian Goldner
(Chairman and CEO)
John Frascotti
(President)
Products
  • Toys
  • Puzzles
  • Board games
  • War games
  • RPG
  • Sports equipment
Brands
Revenue Increase US$5.01 billion (2016)[1]
Increase US$788.05 million (2016)[1]
Increase US$551.38 million (2016)[1]
Total assets Increase US$ 5.09 billion (2016)[1]
Total equity Increase US$1.86 billion (2016)[1]
Owner Alan G. Hassenfeld (7.82% equity)
Number of employees
5,000 (2017)[2][3]
Divisions Hasbro Gaming
Other Multi-Categories
Subsidiaries
Website hasbro.com

Hasbro, Inc. (/ˈhæzbr/; an abbreviation of its original name, Hassenfeld Brothers) is an American multinational toy and board game company. It is the third largest toy maker in the world with revenues of approximately $4.45 billion.[4] Hasbro acquired the trademarks and products of Kenner, Parker Brothers, and Milton Bradley, among others. Among its products are Monopoly, G.I. Joe, Furby, Transformers, Nerf, and My Little Pony. The Hasbro brand also spawned TV shows to promote its products, such as Family Game Night on the Discovery Family network. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The majority of its products are manufactured in East Asia.

History[edit]

Hassenfeld Brothers[edit]

Brothers Herman, Hillel, and Henry Hassenfeld[5] founded Hassenfeld Brothers in Providence, Rhode Island in 1923, a company selling textile remnants. Over the next two decades, the company expanded to produce pencil cases and school supplies. In 1926, Hassenfeld Brothers was incorporated; Hillel left for another textile business while Henry took charge of the corporation. They began making their own pencils when their pencil supplier began making pencil cases as well.[6]

Hassenfeld Brothers produced modeling clay and then doctor and nurse kits as their first toys, and they became primarily a toy company by 1942. Hillel died in 1943 and Henry Hassenfeld became CEO, while his son Merrill became president. The company entered the plastic fields during World War II to support its toy line.[6] Hassenfeld Brothers' first toy hit was Mr. Potato Head,[6] which the company purchased from George Lerner in 1952. The toy was a smash success. In 1954, the company became a Disney major license.[6]

In 1960, Henry died and Merrill took over the parent company, and his older brother Harold ran the pencil-making business of Empire Pencil. Hassenfeld Brothers expanded to Canada with Hassenfeld Brothers (Canada) Ltd. in 1961. The company was approached in 1963 to license a toy based on The Lieutenant, which they turned down because they did not want to be tied to a possibly short-lived television series. Instead, Hassenfeld Brothers produced the G.I. Joe toy in 1964 which they termed an "action figure" in order to market it to boys who wouldn't want to play with dolls. In 1964 and 1965, G.I. Joe accounted for two-thirds of Hassenfeld's sales.[6]

Hasbro Industries[edit]

The company had previously sold toys under the Hasbro trade name, and it shortened its name to Hasbro Industries in 1968 and sold a minor stake in the corporation to the public. The unpopular Vietnam War was at its height in 1969, so Hasbro redesigned GI Joe to be less militaristic and more adventure oriented.[6] Its promotional efforts included the catchphrase "Boy Oh Boy! It's A Hasbro Toy!" in television commercials and print ads. Also in 1969, Hasbro bought Burt Claster Enterprises which produced "Romper Room" and had just begun a Romper Room toy line. A month-long Teamsters strike and Far Eastern supplier troubles caused the company to have a $1 million loss for the year.[6]

In 1970, Hasbro began a plan of diversification and opened the Romper Room Nursery School franchise chain to cash in on President Richard M. Nixon's Family Assistance Plan which subsidized day care for working mothers. By 1975, the company had ended the nursery chain. Hasbro also entered the cookware field with the Galloping Gourmet line based on a television cooking show, but the line collapsed with an attack of termites on their salad bowls.

Two new 1970s toys were public relations disasters. One of the toys was named Javelin Darts which were similar to the ancient Roman plumbata. On December 19, 1988, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lawn darts from sale in the United States due to their hazards as a flying projectile with a sharp metal point causing multiple deaths.[7] The other toy was named The Hypo-Squirt, a hypodermic needle-shaped water gun tagged by the press as a "junior junkie" kit. Both were recalled. Romper Room and its toy line had continued success, although Action for Children's Television citizens group considered the program to be an advertising channel for toys.[6]

Merrill Hassenfeld took over as CEO in 1974, and his son Stephen D. Hassenfeld became president. The company became profitable once again but had mixed results due to cash flow problems from increasing the number of toys in the line to offset G.I. Joe's declining sales. Hasbro ended the G.I. Joe line in 1975 because of the rising price of plastic and crude oil's increasing prices. In 1977, Hasbro's losses were $2.5 million, and the company held a large debt load. That same year, Hasbro acquired Peanuts cartoon characters licensing rights. With the financial situation poor, Hasbro's bankers made the company temporarily stop dividend payments in early 1979. The toy division's losses increased Harold Hassenfeld's resentment regarding the company's treatment of the Empire Pencil subsidiary as Empire received lower levels of capital spending to profits than did the toy division.

With Merrill's death in 1979, Harold did not recognize Stephen's authority as the successor to the chairman and CEO position. As a solution, Hasbro spun off Empire Pencil in 1980, which was the nation's largest pencil maker, with Harold trading his Hasbro shares for those of Empire. Stephen then became both the CEO and chairman of the board. Between 1978 and 1981, Stephen reduced the Hasbro product line by one-third and its new products by one-half. Hasbro focused on simple, low cost, longer life-cycle toys like Mr. Potato Head. Hasbro thus stayed out of the electronic games field which went bust in the early 1980s.

In 1982, Hasbro revived its G.I. Joe line with the help of Marvel Comics, as an anti-terrorist commando based on current events. The company launched the successful Transformers toy line along with a children's animated TV series two years later. With the toys and TV series being popular, Stephen Hassenfeld posed with the toys for a People magazine cover photo.

In 1982, Hasbro produced the successful toy franchise My Little Pony. In 1983, they purchased GLENCO Infant Items, a manufacturer of infant products and the world's largest bib producer, and Knickerbocker Toy Company, a Warner Communications struggling subsidiary. Hasbro paid Warner with 37 percent of its stock—paid into a Hasbro executive control voting trust—and also received a cash infusion. In 1984, Alan G. Hassenfeld took over as president from his brother Stephen, who continued as CEO and chairman. That same year, the company was the nation's sixth best-selling toymaker, and they acquired the Milton Bradley Company which was the nation's fifth best-selling toymaker. This brought The Game of Life, Twister, Easy Money, and Playskool into the Hasbro fold and transformed Hasbro into Hasbro Bradley. Stephen Hassenfeld became the merged company's president and CEO, with Milton Bradley chief James Shea Jr. taking the chairman position. However, the executives clashed and Shea left after a few months, and Stephen and Alan returned to their previous positions.[6]

Hasbro[edit]

In 1985, the company changed its name again to just Hasbro, Inc. The Jumpstarters toys were the subject of a lawsuit in 1985 when Hasbro sued a toy manufacturer for selling toys based on their Transformers design. Hasbro won the suit.

In the mid-1980s, Hasbro moved past Mattel to become the world's largest toy company. Hasbro then moved to outsell Mattel's Barbie in the fashion doll market with the 1986 introduction of Jem, a record producer/rock musician dual identity fashion doll. Jem initially posted strong sales but plummeted and was withdrawn from the market in 1987. Hasbro followed up in 1988 with Maxie, a Barbie-sized blonde doll, so that Barbie clothing and accessories would fit. Maxie lasted until 1990.

Under Alan's initiative in the late 1980s, Hasbro moved to increase international sales by taking toys overseas that had failed in the US market and selling them for as much as four times the original price. This increased international sales from $268 million in 1985 to $433 million in 1988. In 1988, Hasbro purchased part of Coleco Industries' indoor and outdoor children's furniture and ride-on toy product lines for $21 million, including two closed manufacturing plants in Amsterdam, N.Y. In July 1989, Hasbro acquired bankrupt Coleco itself for $85 million.

Stephen Hassenfeld died later that year with the company having gone from sales of $104 million in the year he took control to 1989 sales of over $1.4 billion. Alan succeeded him as chairman and CEO. In 1991, Hasbro purchased Tonka Corporation for $486 million, which included the Parker Brothers unit, the maker of the Monopoly board game, and Kenner Products, the maker of Star Wars and The Real Ghostbusters action figures. Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers were merged into one division.

Alan moved to expand Hasbro overseas with new units in Greece, Hungary, and Mexico. He saw the Far East as an important market in which to expand, and Hasbro purchased Nomura Toys Ltd. in Japan in 1992, along with majority ownership of Palmyra, a Southeast Asian toy distributor. These increased the proportion of international sales from 22% in 1985 to 45% ($1.28 billion) in 1995. In 1993, Hasbro lost its bid to Mattel for J. W. Spear & Sons, a U.K.-based game maker.

In the US, Hasbro's growth since 1980 was from acquisitions and the leveraging of the new assets. New product development was not as successful, except for movie and TV tie-in product lines with Jurassic Park and Barney. Thus, US sales were stagnant in the early 1990s, falling from 1993 to 1995. To turn domestic performance around in 1994, Hasbro merged the Hasbro Toy, Playskool, Playskool Baby, Kenner, and Kid Dimension units into the Hasbro Toy Group. Meanwhile, Mattel purchased Fisher-Price and retook the top spot in the toy industry.

Hasbro Interactive was started in 1995 and released the Monopoly game on CD-ROM. Mattel also proposed a merger that year, but was turned down by the Hasbro board in 1996 due to antitrust issues and Justice Department investigation into exclusionary policies between toy manufacturers and toy retailers, particularly Toys "R" Us.

In 1998, Hasbro bought Avalon Hill for $6 million, and in 1999 Wizards of the Coast was bought in a deal worth $325 million. Wizards of the Coast is now a subsidiary of Hasbro and has Avalon Hill as one of its divisions. In 2001, money-losing Hasbro Interactive was sold for $100 million to Infogrames, a French software concern. Hasbro entered the building block toy market with its Built to Rule line in 2003, which was discontinued in 2005.

In 2007, a workers' rights group investigated several of Hasbro's Chinese suppliers and found that a toy factory in China's Guangxi Province had hired 1,000 junior high school students. The same group discovered other widespread labor violations, including unsafe working conditions, mandatory overtime, verbal abuse, and sexual harassment of employees. Hasbro issued a statement that it would "act swiftly and decisively in making any necessary changes" and had "increased the intensity of ongoing safety review efforts." Critics pointed out that Hasbro had no official regulatory control of these factories. Hasbro responded by hiring independent auditors who make unannounced visits to the East Asian subcontractors.

In 2008, Hasbro acquired game maker Cranium, Inc. for $77 million. The deal was announced on January 4 and closed on January 25. Hasbro collaborated with Discovery Communications on Discovery Family as The Hub Network began on October 10, 2010. The venture proved successful in unexpected ways when the TV revival of the My Little Pony franchise as My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic became the network's highest-rated program with its target demographic of young girls, and also attracted an unexpectedly significant cult following. The Hub Network was rebranded as Discovery Family on October 13, 2014. Hasbro also produces Marvel Comics and Star Wars toys, having recently renewed this deal through at least 2020.

On November 10, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hasbro, Inc. had made a takeover offer for Mattel Inc.[8][9] At the time, Mattel was worth $5 billion, while Hasbro was worth about $11 billion.[9] On November 15, 2017, Reuters reported that Mattel rejected the offer.[10]

Controversy[edit]

In 2011, Greenpeace accused Hasbro of purchasing paper for its packaging from ancient forests in Indonesia. Hasbro changed its paper purchasing policy, and Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford praised the company.[11] There have been criticisms of Hasbro for focusing some of its products on specific demographic groups. For example, a letter spread widely on social media in November 2012 written by a six year-old Irish girl complaining about the lack of female characters in the guessing game Guess Who?[12] This garnered attention in the press after the girl's mother posted the exchange on her blog.[13] Guess Who? had previously received complaints over gender and ethnic bias in its choice of 24 images.[12]

Hasbro primarily sells toys directed at either the girl or boy markets. As such, there have been criticisms that Hasbro's toys reinforce gender stereotypes. For example, in December 2012, 13-year-old McKenna Pope started a campaign on Change.org, calling on the company to create a "boy-friendly" version of the popular Easy-Bake Oven and to feature boys on their packaging and materials.[14][15] Within a week, over 30,000 people signed her petition.[16]

Hasbro was criticized for sexist product design when its 2015 Star Wars Monopoly board game failed to feature Rey, the female protagonist in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while including all of the supporting male characters. Hasbro explained that Rey was left out of the Monopoly game to avoid spoilers, because the game was released months before the movies.[17] On January 5, 2016, Hasbro announced that Rey would be included in future versions. Hasbro later stated that it struggled to distribute the updated Monopoly game that includes the Rey piece, because retailers (especially in the United States) showed "insufficient interest" after having already purchased stock of the first release.[18]

On October 2, 2015, Lorraine Markham sued Hasbro for breach of contract for failure to pay royalties to her. She was seeking a declaration from the U.S. District Court in Providence that her husband Bill Markham was the sole creator of The Game of Life.[19]

Impact[edit]

Hasbro was named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013, citing that the "company enhanced its vacation policy by giving new employees three weeks off in their first year instead of having to wait five years."[20]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Former[edit]

Toys and games[edit]

Hasbro has several brands of toys and games aimed at different demographics. Some of its better-known toy lines (past and present) are:

Hasbro is the largest producer of board games in the world as a result of its component brands, such as Parker Brothers, Waddingtons, Milton Bradley, Wizards of the Coast, and Avalon Hill (all acquisitions since the 1980s). As a result, it has well known and top selling games such as:

Hasbro also produces many variations of most of their games. For example, in addition to original Scrabble, the game is also available as "Scrabble Deluxe Edition", "Scrabble Deluxe Travel Edition","Scrabble Junior", and "Scrabble Onyx Edition".

Hasbro also offers games of physical skill such as:

They have also sold games in the past which are now discontinued but can be found from second hand markets which include:

  • Brain Warp and its sister products which include Brain Shift, Brain Bash, Death Star Escape, Hyperslide and Torx.
  • Bull's-Eye Ball

Hasbro also offers a memory game called Simon which involves memorising sequences of colors and lights.

In 1995, Hasbro began a short-lived video game development and publishing venture called Hasbro Interactive, but disbanded it in 2001 when it was bought by the now defunct Infogrames. Now Hasbro develops video games based on its brands through third-party developers and licensing strategies, notably with major American companies such as Activision, Electronic Arts, and THQ. Following the rise of smartphones and tablet PCs in the 2010s, as well as major video gaming publishers cutting back on releasing games based on licensed IPs for various reasons, such as economic slumps, several of Hasbro's brands were licensed towards mobile game developers such as Gameloft, releasing their games under the label Hasbro Gaming.

On February 25, 2005, Hasbro announced that it would be introducing a musical toothbrush to the market. The Tooth Tunes, released in early 2007, transmits music from the jawbone to the ear when the bristles touch the teeth.

Films and television[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Company Financials Hasbro, Inc". Google Finance. Retrieved May 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ "HAS Profile - Hasbro, Inc. Stock - Yahoo Finance". 
  3. ^ http://corporate.hasbro.com/documents/Corporate_Fact_Sheet_November_2015.pdf
  4. ^ "Fun For Profit: The World's Nine Biggest Toy Companies". January 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ "History of Hasbro, Inc. – FundingUniverse". 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Hasbro, Inc. History". International Directory of Company Histories Vol. 16. St. James Press. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Lawn Darts Are Banned and Should Be Destroyed". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. May 15, 1997. Archived from the original on December 16, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2011. Pointed lawn darts, intended for use in an outdoor game, have been responsible for the deaths of three children. The most recent injury occurred last week in Elkhart, Ind., when a 7-year-old boy suffered a brain injury after a lawn dart pierced his skull. 
  8. ^ Zaiobro, Paul; Mattioli, Dana (November 10, 2017). "Hasbro Sets Its Sights on Mattel". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 11, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Hasbro approaches Mattel about takeover, says WSJ, citing sources". CNBC. November 10, 2017. 
  10. ^ Roumeliotis, Greg. "Mattel snubs Hasbro's latest acquisition approach - sources". Reuters. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  11. ^ Phil Radford. "Hasbro Turns Over a New Leaf, Steps Up for Rainforests". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Guess Who's sexist? Classic board game's gender bias leaves six-year-old fuming from The Independent
  13. ^ "Hasbro knows all about selling to kids - and nothing much about talking to them" from "http://www.byjenniferoconnell.com"
  14. ^ "Teen starts campaign for gender neutral Easy Bake Oven" from Good Morning America
  15. ^ "Teen girl petitions Hasbro to market Easy Bake Oven also to boys" from the Los Angeles Times
  16. ^ Emanuella Grinberg, CNN (December 6, 2012). "Teen says pink toy ovens discourage boys from kitchen play". CNN. 
  17. ^ "Hasbro explains why Rey was excluded from Star Wars: Monopoly (update)". January 5, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Star Wars: Hasbro on why the Rey piece is still missing from Monopoly". July 12, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Complaint" (PDF). PacerMonitor. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  20. ^ "Hasbro - Best Companies to Work For 2013 - Fortune". Money.cnn.com. 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  21. ^ Coopee, Todd. "Light Bulb Baking". ToyTales.ca. 
  22. ^ Coopee, Todd. "Skedoodle". ToyTales.ca. 
  23. ^ Coopee, Todd. "Bowl-A-Tron 300 Automatic Bowling Game from Hasbro (1962)". Toy Tales. 

External links[edit]