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Originally published January 4, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 4, 2008 at 3:18 PM

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Hasbro to acquire Cranium for $77.5 million

Hasbro has agreed to buy privately held game maker Cranium for about $77.5 million, the companies said today. Cranium, based in Seattle...

The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Hasbro has agreed to buy privately held game maker Cranium for about $77.5 million, the companies said today.

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.

Pawtucket-based Hasbro, the world's second-largest toy company, owns the board game brands Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley, which make perennially popular games including Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue and Battleship.

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 after 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.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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