OgreCave

Hasbro buys back digital rights

June 9th, 2005: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Hasbro buys back digital rights

In a press release today (also copied below), Hasbro announced that it has regained the digital rights to Hasbro properties for $65 million, which had gone to Infogrames for $100 million at the end of 2000. As part of the new deal, Hasbro grants Infogrames an exclusive, seven-year license for the interactive rights to ten Hasbro properties, including Monopoly, Clue, Risk, Scrabble and Dungeons & Dragons (which will allow Infogrames/Atari to go ahead and release D&D Online, among other things). Most notable amongst the interactive rights regained by Hasbro proper are Magic: The Gathering, Transformers, Tonka and Playskool. And right about now, Peter Adkison is saying “I told them so.”

Hasbro press release follows:

HASBRO REACQUIRES DIGITAL GAMING RIGHTS FROM INFOGRAMES FOR $65 MILLION

Infogrames Granted Licenses to 10 Hasbro Franchises

PAWTUCKET, RI, LYON, FRANCE June 9, 2005—Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) and Infogrames Entertainment SA (Euronext 5257) jointly announced today that Hasbro has reacquired the digital gaming rights for its properties for $65 million. These rights were previously held by Infogrames on an exclusive basis as a result of a license agreement entered into concurrently with their purchase of Hasbro Interactive and Games.com from Hasbro in December of 2000. As part of the transaction announced today, Hasbro and Infogrames have entered into a new licensing arrangement that provides Infogrames with the rights for 10 Hasbro franchises, including DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS and MONOPOLY.

Under the new agreement:

– Infogrames is granted exclusive rights to DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS in all interactive formats for the next ten years. Three new games are planned to release in 2005 and 2006 by Atari: D&D Online, NeverWinter Nights 2 and Dragonshard.

– Infogrames has also secured an exclusive, 7-year license on nine major Hasbro properties, covering wireless, Internet (online games) and interactive television formats. The games are MONOPOLY, SCRABBLE, GAME OF LIFE, BATTLESHIP, CLUE, YATZHEE, SIMON, RISK and BOGGLE.

– Hasbro reacquires the digital gaming rights to all of its properties including TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, TONKA, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, CONNECT FOUR, CANDYLAND and PLAYSKOOL, as well as hundreds more of its worldwide brands for maximizing across all platforms.

– Infogrames will keep the right to sell and distribute certain currently sold Hasbro titles during a transition period.

“We think this is a great move for both companies,” said Alfred J. Verrecchia, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hasbro, Inc. “This new agreement allows Hasbro to fully exploit its brands in a wide variety of growth platforms including next generation consoles, around the world, while at the same time giving Infogrames the rights to 10 popular Hasbro brands.”

“This agreement is consistent with our objective of providing more resources for the Group’s growth, while concentrating on brands with a significant potential, and investing in Atari’s new products. By securing a ten-year license to DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS and obtaining seven-year rights to nine major properties for wireless, Internet (online games) and interactive television formats, we have strengthened our relationship with Hasbro and taken steps in anticipation of technological developments in our industry,” commented Bruno Bonnell, Infogrames Chairman and Chief Creative Officer.

“We are delighted to further continue our partnership with Infogrames,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, President of the Hasbro Properties Group. “With a built in revenue stream from this new licensing arrangement with Infogrames and the potential to further develop some of our marquis brands like TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY and MAGIC: THE GATHERING on all digital gaming formats around the world, we are very excited about the possibilities.”

About Hasbro, Inc.

Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world. ©2004 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About Infogrames Entertainment and Atari:
Infogrames Entertainment (IESA), the parent company of the Atari Group, is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (ISIN code: FR-0000052573) and has two principal subsidiaries: Atari Europe, a privately-held company, and Atari, Inc., a United States corporation listed on NASDAQ (ATAR).

The Atari Group is a major international producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software for all market segments and in all existing game formats (Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony) and on CD-ROM for PC. Its games are sold in more than 60 countries.

The Atari Group’s extensive catalogue of popular games is based on original franchises (Driver, Alone in the Dark, V-Rally, Unreal Tournament, Test Drive, Roller Coaster Tycoon, etc.) and international licenses (Matrix, Dragon Ball Z, Dungeons and Dragons).

For more information: http://www.atari.com/

16 Comments »

16 comments

  1. Unseelie says:

    Wait a minute… they sell for $100M, buy back for $65M… making $35M in the process and Adkinson was right?!

  2. Dai Oni says:

    And somewhere inside Infogrames office building, someone is clearing up his or her executive office on the final day of employment. 😉

    While $65M is no pocket change, to see the price tag of those brands went from $100M down to $65M, I can’t help but wonder what does that translate into their commercial value.

    Then again, maybe it’s nothing but savvy negotiation.

  3. misuba says:

    Yeah, you have to factor in the money they could have made from brands like Transformers actually getting exploited in the digital arena instead of sat on.

  4. Dai Oni says:

    Maybe it’s a good thing so Hasbro can shop around for other companies willing to develop brand-based electronic games.

  5. simoniker says:

    Actually, the original $100 million included the Atari brand (hardware and software) and Microprose (including the Civilization franchise, which Infogrames has separately sold for $22.3 million), as well as Games.com, so for Atari alone, this was still a great deal for Infogrames. Of course, I’m not sure anyone is claiming any great foresight on their part.

  6. Dai Oni says:

    Last I checked, Hasbro didn’t have Atari prior to selling their electronics right.

    Assuming you are correct, what was the price tag of just the Hasbro’s electronics right that Infogrames paid?

  7. misuba says:

    Actually, Infogrames bought MicroProse/Hasbro Interactive, which did hold the rights to the Atari titles as well as the Hasbro titles at the time it was purchased. I’m not sure whether that means you’re both right, or both wrong, or neither, or both.

  8. simoniker says:

    Hasbro Interactive owned Atari when Infogrames bought Hasbro Interactive – see http://www.atarihq.com/features/hasbro/ for more information on that. There was no split-out of cost when the acquisition occurred – it was just $100 million for Infogrames to buy everything.

  9. Allan Sugarbaker says:

    Peter Adkison left Hasbro and WotC in protest of the sale of Hasbro Interactive, which gave away the electronic rights to properties like Magic and D&D. Perhaps if the rights had stayed with Hasbro and been developed in-house, as Adkison wanted, they wouldn’t have devalued to the point they’re at now. But yes, the side effect is that Hasbro gained $35 million out of the whole process, so I’m sure they’re happy. I’d love to know what could have happened if the sale hadn’t occurred, though.

  10. Dai Oni says:

    I cannot honestly say that by resigning in protest (leaving his fellow WotC employees) is a noble and clever thing on Peter Adkison’s part, other than the fact that he has already taken a lot of money from Hasbro when they bought his company.

  11. Dai Oni says:

    I stand corrected, simoniker.

  12. Chris says:

    Mr. Adkinson had LOTS of reasons to leave, not just that one. I have met him and chatted for over an hour in my store. He is a very kind, humble man. I would suggest knowing someone, or at least more detail on a situation before attacking them so.

  13. McT says:

    For those of you seeing this a a loss for Infogrames/Atari, keep in mind that they’re keeping D&D and a few other licenses. Those properties probably make up most of the 100/65 difference, especially with the success D&D games have seen. I’m not sure how the numbers work out, but the D&D line has been one of Infogrames most successful properties in the past, even if all these Eberron games seem to fly like a lead balloon. Grames did not flat lose $35 mil on this.

  14. Bubbalin says:

    Note that while Hasbro regains the rights in the long run, they still have sold off a 7 year exclusive right to those properties also.
    Now I don’t know aotu the computer game market, but how much is D&D online going to make in 7 years? Is that worth $35 million?

  15. Dai Oni says:

    Technically, Hasbro only licensed out those boardgame brands in a 7-year agreement with Infogrames. They also grant Infogrames a 10-year license with D&D brand. All part of the deal to the sale.

  16. A. Caloff says:

    Do you know what this means for games.com? Their users are in an uproar over atari’s lack of tech support on new bug-infested beta site they threw at us in April 05, as well as lack of dev and staff information updates nor news on the atari community feedback forum. Total lack of respect for their users and advertisers. Atari staffers, including CEO Bruno Bonnell, do not answer mail or email. It is a sham. Any scoop???

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