We are a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time products and services with a broad portfolio of brands and entertainment properties. As a brand-driven, consumer-focused global company, Hasbro brings to market a wide range of toys, games and licensed products, from traditional to high-tech and digital, under well-known brand names such as TRANSFORMERS, PLAYSKOOL, NERF, LITTLEST PET SHOP, MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. Our offerings encompass a broad variety of games, including traditional board, card, hand-held electronic, trading card, role-playing and DVD games, as well as electronic learning aids and puzzles. Toy offerings include boys’ action figures, vehicles and playsets, girls’ toys, electronic toys, plush products, preschool toys and infant products, electronic interactive products, creative play and toy related specialty products. In addition, we license certain of our trademarks, characters and other property rights to third parties for use in connection with digital gaming, consumer promotions, and for the sale of non-competing toys and games and non-toy products. We also seek to expand awareness of our brands through immersive entertainment experiences, including television and movies. In 2009 we purchased a 50% interest in a joint venture with Discovery Communications, Inc. (“Discovery”). This joint venture operates a television network in the United States dedicated to high-quality children’s and family entertainment and educational programming.
We market our brands under the following primary product categories: (1) boys’ toys; (2) games and puzzles; (3) girls’ toys; and (4) preschool toys. Descriptions of these product categories are as follows:
Our boys’ toys category includes a wide range of core brand offerings such as TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE action figures and accessories, NERF sports and action products, as well as entertainment-based licensed products based on popular movie, television and comic book characters, such as STAR WARS and MARVEL toys and accessories. In the action figure area, a key part of our strategy focuses on the importance of reinforcing the storyline associated with these products through the use of media-based entertainment. In 2009, sales in our boys’ toys category also benefited from major motion picture releases of TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN and G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA. In addition, STAR WARS, SPIDER-MAN and TRANSFORMERS products were each supported by animated television series. In 2010, the major motion picture IRON MAN 2 is expected to be released based on the MARVEL character. In addition to marketing and developing action figures and accessories for traditional play, the Company also develops and markets products designed for collectors, which has been a key component of the success of the STAR WARS brand. Other key boys’ brands include TONKA and SUPERSOAKER.
Our games and puzzles category includes several well known brands, including MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, CRANIUM, AVALON HILL and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. These brand portfolios consist of a broad assortment of games for children, tweens, families and adults. Core game brands include MONOPOLY, BATTLESHIP, GAME OF LIFE, SCRABBLE, CHUTES AND LADDERS, CANDY LAND, TROUBLE, MOUSETRAP, OPERATION, HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS, CONNECT FOUR, TWISTER, YAHTZEE, CRANIUM, JENGA, SIMON, CLUE, SORRY!, RISK, BOGGLE, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, GUESS WHO? and BOP IT!, as well as a line of puzzles for children and adults, including the BIG BEN and CROXLEY lines of puzzles. WIZARDS OF THE COAST offers trading card and role-playing games, including MAGIC: THE GATHERING, DUEL MASTERS and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. We seek to keep our game brands relevant through sustained marketing programs, such as FAMILY GAME NIGHT, as well as by offering consumers new ways to experience these brands.
In our girls’ toys category, we seek to provide a traditional and wholesome play experience. Girls’ toy brands include LITTLEST PET SHOP, MY LITTLE PONY, FURREAL FRIENDS, BABY ALIVE and STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE. In 2010, we will seek to expand the MY LITTLE PONY brand through television programming.
Our preschool toys category encompasses a range of products for infants and preschoolers in the various stages of development. Our preschool products include a portfolio of core brands marketed primarily under the PLAYSKOOL trademark. The PLAYSKOOL line includes such well-known products as MR. POTATO HEAD, WEEBLES, SIT ’N SPIN and GLOWORM, along with a successful line of infant toys including STEP START WALK N’ RIDE, 2-IN-1 TUMMY TIME GYM and BUSY BALL POPPER. Through our preschool marketing programs, we seek to provide consumer friendly information that assists parents in understanding the developmental milestones their children will encounter as well as the role each PLAYSKOOL product can play in helping children to achieve these developmental milestones. In addition, our preschool category also includes certain TONKA lines of trucks and interactive toys and the PLAY-DOH brand. We recently entered into a ten-year agreement with Sesame Workshop that provides us with the licensed rights to produce products based upon the SESAME STREET portfolio of characters, including ELMO, BIG BIRD, and COOKIE MONSTER, among others, commencing in 2011.
Organizationally, our three principal segments are U.S. and Canada, International and Entertainment and Licensing. The U.S. and Canada and International segments engage in the marketing and selling of various toy and game products as listed above. Our toy, game and puzzle products are developed by a global development group. We also have a global marketing function which establishes brand direction and assists the segments in establishing certain local marketing programs. The costs of these groups are allocated to the principal segments. Our U.S. and Canada segment covers the United States and Canada while the International segment primarily includes Europe, the Asia Pacific region and Latin and South America. The Entertainment and Licensing segment engages in the out-licensing of our trademarks, characters and other brand and intellectual property rights to third parties for non-competing products and also conducts our movie, television and online entertainment operations. In addition, our Global Operations segment is responsible for arranging product manufacturing and sourcing for the U.S. and Canada and International segments.
The Company’s strategy is focused around re-imagining, re-inventing, and re-igniting its brands globally through the development and marketing of innovative toy and game products, providing immersive entertainment experiences for our consumers, and expansion of our brands into other consumer products.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations: Executive Summary
The Company earns revenue and generates cash through the sale of a variety of toy and game products, as well as through the out-licensing of rights for use of its properties in connection with non-competing products, including digital games, offered by third parties. The Company sells its products both within the United States and in a number of international markets. The Company’s business is highly seasonal with a significant amount of revenues occurring in the second half of the year. In 2009, 2008 and 2007, the second half of the year accounted for 65%, 63% and 66% of the Company’s net revenues, respectively. While many of the Company’s products are based on brands the Company owns or controls, the Company also offers products which are based on licensed rights from outside inventors. In addition, the Company licenses rights to produce products based on movie, television, music and other entertainment properties owned by third parties, such as the MARVEL and STAR WARS properties.
The Company’s business is separated into three principal business segments, U.S. and Canada, International and Entertainment and Licensing. The U.S. and Canada segment develops, markets and sells both toy and game products in the U.S. and Canada. The International segment consists of the Company’s European, Asia Pacific and Latin and South American marketing and sales operations. The Company’s Entertainment and Licensing segment includes the Company’s lifestyle licensing, digital gaming, movie, television and online entertainment operations. In addition to these three primary segments, the Company’s world-wide manufacturing and product sourcing operations are managed through its Global Operations segment.
The Company seeks to make its brands relevant in all areas important to its consumers. Brand awareness is amplified through immersive traditional play, digital applications, publishing and lifestyle licensing and entertainment experiences presented for the consumers’ enjoyment. The Company’s focus remains on growing core owned and controlled brands, developing new and innovative products which respond to market insights, offering immersive entertainment experiences which allow consumers to experience the Company’s brands across different forms and formats, and optimizing efficiencies within the Company to reduce costs, increase operating profits and maintain a strong balance sheet. The Company’s core brands represent Company-owned or Company-controlled brands, such as TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, LITTLEST PET SHOP, MONOPOLY, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, PLAYSKOOL, G.I. JOE, NERF and TONKA, which have been successful over the long term. The Company has a large portfolio of owned and controlled brands, which can be introduced in new formats and platforms over time. These brands may also be further extended by pairing a licensed concept with a core brand. By focusing on core brands, the Company is working to build a more consistent revenue stream and basis for future growth, and to leverage profitability. During 2009 the Company had strong revenues from core brands, namely TRANSFORMERS, LITTLEST PET SHOP, NERF, MONOPOLY, PLAYSKOOL, PLAY-DOH, MAGIC: THE GATHERING and G.I. JOE. The Company’s strategy of re-imagining, re-inventing and re-igniting its brands has been instrumental to achieving its overall long-term growth objectives.
The Company also seeks to drive revenues by increasing the visibility of its core brands through entertainment. As an example of this, in June of 2009, the TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN motion picture was released as a sequel to the 2007 motion picture TRANSFORMERS. In addition, in August 2009, the motion picture G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA was released. The Company developed and marketed product lines based on these motion pictures. As a result of pairing these core brands with motion picture entertainment, both the movies and the product lines benefited. In addition, the Company has entered into a strategic relationship with Universal Pictures to produce at least three motion pictures based on certain of Hasbro’s core brands, with the potential for production of two additional pictures. The first movie is expected to be released in 2012. As part of its strategy, in addition to using theatrical entertainment, the Company continues to seek opportunities to use other entertainment outlets and forms of entertainment as a way to build awareness of its brands which has proved instrumental to achieving its overall long-term growth objectives.
In April 2009 the Company announced the entry into an agreement to form a joint venture with Discovery Communications, Inc. (“Discovery”) to create a television network in the United States dedicated to high-quality children’s and family entertainment and educational programming. The transaction closed in May 2009. Programming on the network will include content based on Hasbro’s brands, Discovery’s library of children’s educational programming, as well as programming developed by third parties. The Company expects the rebranded network, THE HUB, to debut in late fall of 2010 and believes that it will reach approximately 60 million homes in the U.S. at that time, with programming targeted to children 14 years of age and under. The Company believes that this effort will support its strategy of growing its core brands well beyond traditional toys and games and to provide immersive entertainment experiences for consumers of all ages in any form or format. In connection with this transaction, the Company has begun building an internal creative group that will be responsible for the creation and development of television programming based on Hasbro’s brands. The Company expects to incur a certain level of investment spending leading up to the debut of the rebranded channel, as well as costs in 2010 and beyond related to the production of television programming.
While the Company believes it has built a more sustainable revenue base by developing and maintaining its core brands and avoiding reliance on licensed entertainment properties, it continues to opportunistically enter into or leverage existing strategic licenses which complement its brands and key strengths. The Company’s primary licenses include its agreements with Marvel Characters B.V. (“Marvel”); Lucas Licensing, Ltd. (“Lucas”), related to the STAR WARS brand; and Sesame Workshop, related to the Sesame Street brand of characters. The majority of product offerings under the Sesame Workshop license will commence in 2011. In 2009 and 2008, the Company had significant sales of products related to the Company’s license with Marvel, primarily due to the movie releases of IRON MAN in May 2008, THE INCREDIBLE HULK in June 2008 and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE in May 2009. In addition, the Company had significant sales in 2008 of products related to the movie release of STAR WARS: CLONE WARS in August 2008 as well as sales from the movie release of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL in May 2008. During 2009 the Company has also had a high level of revenues from products related to television programming based on SPIDER-MAN and STAR WARS.
While gross profits of theatrical entertainment-based products are generally higher than many of the Company’s other products, sales from these products, including our owned or controlled brands based on a movie release, also incur royalty expense. Such royalties reduce the impact of these higher gross margins. In certain instances, such as with Lucasfilm’s STAR WARS, the Company may also incur amortization expense on property right-based assets acquired from the licensor of such properties, further impacting profits earned on these products.
The Company’s long-term strategy also focuses on extending its brands further into the digital world. As part of this strategy, the Company entered into a multi-year strategic agreement with Electronic Arts Inc. (“EA”) in 2007. The agreement gives EA the exclusive worldwide rights, subject to existing limitations on the Company’s rights and certain other exclusions, to create digital games for all platforms, such as mobile phones, gaming consoles and personal computers, based on a broad spectrum of the Company’s intellectual properties, including MONOPOLY, SCRABBLE, YAHTZEE, NERF, TONKA, G.I. JOE and LITTLEST PET SHOP. A number of products under this agreement have been released in 2008 and 2009 and the line will continue to be updated and expanded in 2010.
The Company is also investing to grow its business in emerging markets. During the last two years, the Company expanded its operations in China, Brazil, Russia, Korea, Romania and the Czech Republic. In addition, the Company is seeking to grow its business in entertainment and digital gaming, and will continue to evaluate strategic alliances and acquisitions which may complement its current product offerings, allow it entry into an area which is adjacent to or complementary to the toy and game business, or allow it to further develop awareness of its brands and expand the ability of consumers to experience its brands in different forms of media. In addition to the Discovery joint venture discussed above, another example of this includes the acquisition of Cranium, Inc., a developer and marketer of CRANIUM branded games and related products, in 2008. In addition, in the second quarter of 2008, the Company acquired the rights to TRIVIAL PURSUIT, a brand which the Company had previously licensed on a long-term basis. Ownership of the rights will allow the Company to further leverage the brand in different media. In 2009, the Company continued to expand its brand portfolio through several smaller brand acquisitions that it believes will be complementary to its core brands.
While the Company remains committed to investing in the growth of its business, it also continues to be focused on reducing fixed costs through efficiencies and on profit improvement. Over the last 7 years the Company has improved its full year operating margin from 7.8% in 2002 to 14.5% in 2009. The Company reviews its operations on an ongoing basis and seeks to reduce the cost structure of its underlying business and promote efficiency.
In recent years, the Company has been seeking to return excess cash to its shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. As part of this initiative, over the last five years, the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) has adopted four successive share repurchase authorizations with a cumulative authorized repurchase amount of $1,700,000. After fully exhausting the prior three authorizations, the fourth authorization was approved on February 7, 2008 for $500,000. For the years ended 2009, 2008 and 2007, the Company spent $90,994, $357,589 and $587,004, respectively, to repurchase 3,172, 11,736 and 20,795 shares, respectively, in the open market. Also in 2007, the Company paid $200,000 in cash to repurchase exercisable warrants for 15,750 shares of the Company’s common stock. The Company intends to, at its discretion, opportunistically repurchase shares in the future subject to market conditions. At December 27, 2009, the Company had $161,434 remaining under the February 2008 authorization. In addition, in February 2010 the Company announced an increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.25 per share.
During 2009, the Company operated in an environment of both a stronger U.S. dollar relative to foreign currencies compared to 2008 as well as weakened overall economic conditions. Accordingly, the Company has sought to mitigate the impact of these conditions by instituting a variety of cost control initiatives. As of December 27, 2009 the Company had $636,045 in cash and cash equivalents and had available capacity, if needed, under its revolving credit agreement and accounts receivable securitization program. In connection with the announcement of a joint venture agreement with Discovery in April 2009, the Company made a $300,000 cash payment to purchase its 50% share of the joint venture. The Company funded its investment through the issuance of debt with a principal amount of $425,000 in May 2009. The Company believes that the funds available to it, including cash expected to be generated from operations and funds available through its available lines of credit, accounts receivable securitization program and other borrowing facilities are adequate to meet its working capital needs for 2010.
At December 27, 2009, we employed approximately 5,800 persons worldwide, approximately 3,100 of whom were located in the United States.
Availability of Information
Our internet address is http://www.hasbro.com. We make our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, available free of charge on or through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission.