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No brainer: Hasbro buys Cranium

Hasbro, the world’s second-largest toy company, has agreed to buy privately held game maker Cranium for about $77.5 million, the companies said Friday.
Image: Cranium
Richard Tait, founder of Cranium.Spencer Platt / Getty Images file
/ Source: The Associated Press

The maker of Monopoly is adding to its empire of board games.

Hasbro Inc., the world’s second-largest toy company, has agreed to buy privately held game maker Cranium Inc. for about $77.5 million, the companies said Friday.

Pawtucket-based Hasbro owns the board game brands Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley, which make perennially popular games including Scrabble, Clue and Battleship as well as Monopoly.

Cranium, based in Seattle, is best known for its Cranium board game, which requires players to hum, draw and sculpt their way to the top. It makes a range of other games for children and adults and has sold more than 22 million games, books and toys worldwide.

Hasbro Chief Operating Officer Brian Goldner said the deal would allow Hasbro to maximize the Cranium brand and grow it in international markets.

Gerrick Johnson, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, said the deal is a good fit for both companies. Hasbro gains Cranium’s successful creative team and line of popular games, and Cranium benefits from Hasbro’s global reach and distribution network. He said it also makes sense following a tough 2007, when the toy industry grappled with millions of toy recalls and a disappointing holiday season.

“I think you’re going to see more consolidation in the industry going forward, and I think this is just the beginning of it,” he said.

Hasbro officials said the all-cash deal is expected to close in the first quarter this year, pending approval by Cranium’s shareholders.

Under the deal, Cranium will become a subsidiary of Hasbro, which will pay down Cranium’s outstanding debt and pay its shareholders. Hasbro did not disclose the amount of debt the deal includes.

The final purchase price could change based on Cranium’s net assets on the closing date.

Hasbro shares closed down 94 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $23.74 on the New York Stock Exchange Friday after sinking to a 52-week low of $23.67 earlier in the session. The broader market was also lower.