HistoryIn 1923, two brothers—Henry and Helal Hassenfeld—founded Hassenfeld Brothers, a textile remnant company in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Over the next two decades, the company expanded to produce pencil cases and school supplies. In the 1940s, Hassenfeld Brothers produced doctor and nurse kits, its first toys. Hassenfeld Brothers' first toy hit was Mr. Potato Head, which the company purchased from inventor George Lerner in 1952. The toy was a smash success. In 1964, Hassenfeld Brothers produced the G.I. Joe toy, which they termed an "action figure" in order to market the toy to boys who wouldn't want to play with "dolls". The company shortened its name to Hasbro Industries in 1968. In 1983, Hasbro produced another successful toy franchise, My Little Pony. The company acquired the Milton Bradley Company in 1984, bringing The Game of Life, Candy Land, Twister, Chutes and Ladders and Yahtzee into the Hasbro fold, and found continued success in 1984 with the release of the first Transformers toys. The Transformers Jumpstarters toys were the subject of a lawsuit by Hasbro in 1985 where they sued a toy manufacturer for selling toys based on their design. Hasbro won the suit. In 1985 CBS Toys (including the Sesame Street Child Guidance label) was purchased. In 1986, Hasbro acquired Playskool, which purchased Mr. Potato Head from Hasbro that year. Parker Brothers was purchased by Hasbro in 1991, and with it Monopoly, the most successful commercial board game of all time.
subsidiaries. The toys and games produced by these companies retain their brand identity, which is an important advertising consideration. Many of Hasbro's games have been around so long that they have entered into popular culture. 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 its division. In 2001 money-losing Hasbro Interactive, a subsidiary formed in 1995, was sold to French software concern Infogrames for $100 million.
Some of the Hasbro-owned subsidiaries are/were:
- Avalon Hill (an imprint of Wizards of the Coast, see below)
- CBS Toys
- Child Guidance
- Claster Television
- Milton Bradley
- Parker Brothers
- Selchow and Righter
- Tiger Electronics
- Wizards of the Coast
- TSR, Inc.
In the early 21st century, Hasbro allowed for the use of Mr. Potato Head in a community art project similar to those with cows in Chicago and pigs in Cincinnati. Painted and reoutfitted versions of Mr. Potato Head by various artists sprouted up all over Rhode Island and were welcome additions in front of businesses and buildings (including a New England staple, Dunkin Donuts) for the duration of the project.
Hasbro would be the largest toy and game publisher in the world if it were not for Mattel's Barbie franchise.
In 2008, Hasbro acquired game maker Cranium, Inc. for $77.5 million. The deal was announced on January 4 and closed on January 25.
Hasbro is collaborating with Discovery Communications on The Hub, a new cable network slated to begin on October 10, 2010. Hasbro will also produce Marvel Comics toys until 2017. The Walt Disney Company's purchase of Marvel in 2009 came as a blow to Hasbro, as it is likely Disney will give the Marvel license to their rival Mattel. Hasbro had also hoped their collaboration with Marvel would pad out their channel's schedule with Marvel cartoons.
ManufactureOver the years, Hasbro has outsourced the manufacture of its products to third-party companies, mostly in China. At the Chinese factories, which Hasbro does not directly own or operate, migrant workers are compensated with meager salaries for their labor. At one such factory, in Dongguan, China, basic assembly line jobs pay a little over one hundred US dollars per month, China's minimum wage.
In 2007, a workers' rights group investigated several of Hasbro's Chinese suppliers and found that, in one instance, a toy factory in China's Guangxi Province had hired 1000 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, saying that it would "act swiftly and decisively in making any necessary changes" and had "increased the intensity of [its] ongoing safety review efforts." Critics counter that, as Hasbro has no official regulatory control of these factories, it responds to such investigations by acquiring independent auditors, who make unannounced visits to the East Asian subcontractors. Factory managers are then "coached" in how to fool the auditors.
Outside Asia, Hasbro owns and operates only two manufacturing facilities, one in Waterford, Ireland, the other in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, USA. In recent years, the company has cut jobs at both plants in response to increasing competition from lower cost locations in China. At the end of 2006, for example, Hasbro's Irish division laid off more than one third of its workforce.
Toys and gamesHasbro has several brands of toys and games aimed at different demographics. Some of its better-known toy lines are:
- Army Ants
- Battle Beasts
- Cabbage Patch Kids (1989–1994)
- Easy-Bake Oven
- G.I. Joe
- Lincoln Logs
- Mr. Potato Head
- My Little Pony
- Star Wars
- Talk 'n Play
- Axis and Allies
- Candy Land
- Clue (Cluedo)
- Dungeons & Dragons (role-playing game)
- The Game of Life
- Magic: The Gathering (Hasbro's top-selling brand)
- Duel Masters Trading Card Game
- Monopoly (best selling board game ever according to the Guinness Book of World Records)
- Trivial Pursuit
- Mirror-Mirror (Winner of ITV1's 'Design a Board Game Competition')
Hasbro also offers games of physical skill such as:
computer and video game development and publishing venture called Hasbro Interactive in the 1990s, but disbanded it in late 1999. Now Hasbro develops video games based on its brands through third-party developers and licensing strategies.
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.
FilmsUnder the supervision of Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Hasbro has been involved in developing big budget live-action film adaptations based on their toy lines.
- Transformers 3 (July 1, 2011)
- Battleship (May 25, 2012)
- Stretch Armstrong (summer 2012)
- Unnamed G.I. Joe sequel (TBD)
- Monopoly (TBD)
- ^ a b History of Hasbro from Hasbro's official website
- ^ a b c Hasbro (HAS) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
- ^ a b Hasbro (HAS) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
- ^ HASBRO BRADLEY, INC. v. SPARKLE TOYS, INC., 780 F.2d 189 (2nd Cir. 1985) from Cornell University Law School
- ^ The Fall of Avalon Hill from Academic Gaming Review
- ^ Hasbro Buys Pokemon Cards from BNET.com
- ^ Hasbro to Acquire Wizards of the Coast from About.com
- ^ Company News; Hasbro Completes Sale Of Interactive Business from The New York Times
- ^ Hasbro Acquires Cranium
- ^ "Hasbro Announces Agreement to Acquire Cranium, Inc." press release
- ^ No brainer: Hasbro buys Cranium from MSNBC
- ^ "Disney-Marvel deal casts web of issues for toymakers". Reuters. 2009-08-31. http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE57U63C20090831. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- ^ "Workers riot at Chinese factory producing Nerf toys for Hasbro" from USA Today
- ^ "U.S. Group Accuses Chinese Toy Factories of Labor Abuses" from The New York Times
- ^ "‘Painful and difficult’ decision as 140 jobs lost" from The Munster Express
- ^ "Transformers 3 release date". Michael Bay. 2009-03-17. http://michaelbay.com/newsblog/files/3f197617a57cc2502d459e79ffb5ec42-262.html. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- ^ a b StreetInsider.com
- Official website
- History of Hasbro
- MonkeyBarTV, Hasbro children's entertainment website
- CPSC Lead Paint Recall on Cranium Cadoo