Hasbro and Discovery Communications Announce Joint Venture

{mosimage} Discovery Communications is big on children's programming designed to educate through entertainment. And what's more entertaining than giant alien robots? Hasbro and Discovery Communications will be teaming up to create new programming (and indeed a new television network) for Discovery based on Hasbro's ROMPER ROOM, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, SCRABBLE, CRANIUM, MY LITTLE  PONY, G.I. JOE, GAME OF LIFE, TONKA and TRANSFORMERS brands, and Hasbro will be purchasing a 50% stake in the venture! Hasbro's creative teams will begin work on programming for ROMPER ROOM, TONKA, G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS  and MY LITTLE PONY in the next few months. More than that, Hasbro will also hold the assets for an entire

Click here to see the press release, or you can read it here. 


— Multi-Platform Initiative Planned to Premiere in Late 2010;  TV Network to Reach Approximately 60 Million Nielsen Households in the U.S. Served by  Discovery Kids Channel —

— Joint Media Call with Hasbro CEO and Discovery CEO at  8:15 AM Eastern Today; Hasbro Investor Call with Hasbro CEO and Hasbro CFO  & COO at 8:45 AM Eastern Today; See Dial-in and Webcast Details at End of  Release —


PAWTUCKET, R.I., and SILVER  SPRING, Md. – Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) and Discovery Communications (Nasdaq:  DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) today announced an agreement to form a 50/50 joint  venture, including a television network and website, dedicated to high-quality  children’s and family entertainment and educational programming built around  some of the most well-known and beloved brands in the world.   As part of the transaction, the joint  venture also will receive a minority interest in the U.S. version of Hasbro.com.

Both the network and the venture’s  online component will feature content from Hasbro’s rich portfolio of  entertainment and educational properties built over the past 90 years, including  original programming for animation, game shows, and live-action series and  specials.  New programming will be based  on brands such as ROMPER ROOM, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, SCRABBLE, CRANIUM, MY LITTLE  PONY, G.I. JOE, GAME OF LIFE, TONKA and TRANSFORMERS, among many others. The TV  network and online presence also will include content from Discovery’s  extensive library of award-winning children’s educational programming, such as BINDI  THE JUNGLE GIRL, ENDURANCE, TUTENSTEIN, HI-5, FLIGHT 29 DOWN and PEEP AND THE  BIG WIDE WORLD, as well as programming from third-party producers.  

“Hasbro continues to evolve  as a company with an unwavering vision of reimagining the potential of our  incredible portfolio of brands well beyond traditional toys and games,” said  Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s President and CEO.   “Today, consumers are embracing our powerful brands through unique and  immersive entertainment and educational experiences in a number of areas,  including movies and new digital platforms.

“We believe the time is  right for Hasbro to take the next step into television through our partnership  with Discovery Communications,” continued Goldner.  “David Zaslav and his talented team have the  experience, track record and ambition necessary to make this joint venture a  long-term success as we build this network.   We look forward to creating fun, stimulating and educational content  that will allow us to deliver all-new brand experiences to the young and ‘young  at heart’ – anywhere and anytime they want.”
  “This joint venture reinforces  Discovery’s strategy to develop strong brands, maximize the potential of our  extensive distribution in the U.S. and work with the highest quality content partners  to create long-term value,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery  Communications.  “Brian Goldner and the  dynamic management team at Hasbro have a long track record of developing well-respected  quality brands that entertain and encourage creative play. The combined assets  of both partners provide a compelling platform for building a trusted children’s  destination that engages and enlightens a thirsty and growing audience.”

At the closing of the  transaction, Hasbro will purchase a 50% stake in the venture, which will hold  the assets related to Discovery Kids Network in the U.S., for which Discovery Communications  will receive $300 million.  The joint  venture’s rebranded network is expected to debut in late 2010 reaching  approximately 60 million Nielsen households in the U.S. with programming geared  to boys and girls 14 years of age and under.   The joint venture also will participate in merchandising opportunities  associated with on-air content. The closing of the transaction is subject to  customary closing conditions including satisfaction of all requirements of the  Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Each company will have  equal representation on a board of directors that will oversee a management  team responsible for programming, scheduling and operations.  The search for a President and General Manager  for the network will  begin immediately.  Discovery  Communications will handle advertising sales services, distribution,  origination and other operational requirements for the proposed venture, while  Hasbro will provide studio-produced programming. 

Hasbro will also make a  separate investment to establish a creative team that will allow Hasbro to  create and produce the consumer-driven content children and families have come  to expect from Hasbro’s unmatched brands.   Creative work will start in the next few months beginning with early stage  development for properties including ROMPER ROOM, TONKA, G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS  and MY LITTLE PONY.  The creative team  will have the capability to produce animated, live-action, and game show  programming as well as content designed for digital and mobile extensions.

Programming on the network  will be designed to entertain and educate, echoing the popularity and appeal of  Hasbro’s portfolio of brands and Discovery’s long-standing commitment to  life-long learning with the goal of making our emerging networks more valuable  to affiliates and more compelling for viewers.   In the tradition of Discovery Kids, this will include a number of daily  hours voluntarily devoted to educational/informative content.

The network will continue  to operate as Discovery Kids until the debut of the to-be-named channel and new  programming slate. Discovery Communications will retain the Discovery Kids  brand for, among other things, its international networks and its licensing and  merchandising business.

Launched in 1996, Discovery  Kids Channel has won multiple Daytime Emmys and Parents’ Choice Awards for its series  and specials. Discovery Kids programming helps children satisfy their curiosity  about a full range of science, adventure, exploration and natural history  topics through documentaries, reality shows, scripted dramas and animated  stories.  

Hasbro was advised by The William Morris Agency (WMA),  John Fogelman of WMA and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch & Co. in connection  with this transaction.

Discovery was advised by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton  & Garrison LLP.

Conference Call and Webcast Details
At 8:15 a.m.  Eastern today, Hasbro President and CEO Brian Goldner and Discovery  Communications President and CEO David Zaslav will host a conference call for  media to discuss the new joint venture.  To access the conference call, in the U.S. dial 1-800-573-4842, or outside of the U.S.  dial 1-617-224-4327, and use the following  passcode:  59518157.  A live webcast and  replay of the call also will be available on Discovery Communications’ website  at www.discoverycommunications.com and Hasbro's website at www.hasbro.com.

At 8:45 a.m. Eastern today,  Hasbro President and CEO Brian Goldner and Hasbro Chief Operating Officer and  Chief Financial Officer David Hargreaves will host a conference call for Hasbro  investors to further discuss the new joint venture.  Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav and  Discovery CFO Brad Singer also will join the call.  To access the Hasbro investor conference  call, in the U.S. dial  800-768-6544, or outside of the U.S.  dial 785-830-7990.  A live webcast of the  call will be available on Hasbro’s website at http://investor.hasbro.com and click  on the webcast microphone.  The replay  will be available on Hasbro’s web site approximately 2 hours following  completion of the call.

About Hasbro
  Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in  children’s and family leisure time products and services with a rich portfolio  of brands and entertainment properties that provides some of the highest  quality and most recognizable play and recreational experiences in the world.  As a brand-driven, consumer-focused global company, Hasbro brings to market a  range of toys, games and licensed products, from traditional to high-tech and  digital, under such powerful brand names as TRANSFORMERS, PLAYSKOOL, TONKA,  MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. Come see how  we inspire play through our brands at http://www.hasbro.com. (C)  2009 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About Discovery  Communications
  Discovery Communications  (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s number one nonfiction media  company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in 170  countries.  Discovery empowers people to  explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide  networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet  Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and  educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media  services including HowStuffWorks.com.  For more  information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.