February 10, 2009

Hasbro Q4 2008 Earning Statement

Well... I don't know if any of you own Hasbro stock (HAS), but ... last year they kicked tail and blew the doors down on profits DESPITE the recession. Today their Q4 2008 Earnings Call Transcript was released. Here's some excerpts as it pertains to our favorite game:

David Hargreaves : ... Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $654.3 million compared to $653.5 million a year ago...

Margaret Whitfield - Sterne, Agee & Leach : You mentioned the spending on emerging markets, digital, etc. Can you quantify the spending in Q4 and for the year?

David Hargreaves : I’m not sure we have added it all up exactly like that but we have certainly indicated in the earlier quarters it was running around $20 million a quarter and it was to tail off towards the end of the year. So I would say in the aggregate somewhere between $60-70 million of investment spending behind these various strategies which include the emerging markets, advancing our in house force to support our EA initiative where revenues only start in the fourth quarter but we had people on board all year, included our Wizards of the Coast digital initiatives which is Dungeons and Dragons Insider which if you go to the internet and see now and so there was a whole bunch of initiatives that were included in there and the aggregate spending over the year was probably in the region of about $70 million...

... In the U.S. and Canada segment we also had increases in product
development and marketing expenses related to the investments we are making in
our core brands as well as our Wizards of the Coast digital initiative ...

Drew Crum - Stifel Nicolaus : Can you say what the games and puzzles business did in the fourth quarter in terms of year-over-year growth or decline?

Brian Goldner : Games and puzzles for the full year was down slightly while board games was up a few percent.

Drew Crum - Stifel Nicolaus : How about in the fourth quarter?

Brian Goldner : In the fourth quarter games and puzzles were down a bit more significantly as were board games.

Take home message? Hasbro is an 800-pound gorilla. They love D&D Insider as it fits into the Hasbro wide initiave to get into "digital gaming".

Maybe the executives at WotC pitched a new edition of D&D, along with D&D Insider, to Hasbroas a way to keep the D&D brand alive and fall in line with their parent company's desire to get into the "digital gaming space".


  1. I wish there were more detailed reports to be had. Hasbro has a lot of puzzles and games, and it would be interesting to see how well WotC did from year to year.

  2. Well, looks like all the "HASBRO IS SO TOTALLY GONNA KILL D&D GUYS" rumors were unfounded. They sound pretty happy with it.

  3. I'm still skeptical. While it may fit the overall strategy, I find it difficult to believe that D&D Insider will continue to earn net revenue on the scale Hasbro wants to see.

    And the print books... each new volume has to sell fewer than the one before (in general, acknowledging that there will be certain hits). At what point will Hasbro decide it just isn't worth the cost of writing and producing new ones?


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