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The Buzz in Hasbro's Earnings Beat Came From Hollywood

By Motley Fool Staff – Apr 26, 2019 at 11:56AM

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The toy company is doing well on a number of fronts, but the box-office power of "Bumblebee” was key.

Toys -- do kids still even play with them in this age of smartphones, tablets, and video games? Actually, yes they do, and Hasbro (HAS -0.35%) has the first-quarter numbers to prove it. But the revenue and earnings beat it delivered had more to do with the enduring international box-office allure of a rebooted toy/media franchise: The latest Transformers installment, Bumblebee, raked in almost $470 million globally, 72% of it from overseas markets.

In this segment from MarketFoolery, host Chris Hill and Motley Fool Asset Management's Bill Barker consider how Hasbro is getting past the pain from the Toys R Us bankruptcy, profiting from e-games, and monetizing its intellectual property and brand partnerships with incredibly successful film franchises.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on April 23, 2019.

Chris Hill: Let's move on to Hasbro. First-quarter profits and revenue came in higher than expected for Hasbro. I mentioned at the top toy earnings. Forget about the toys. The story here with Hasbro is Bumblebee, which is the Transformers spin-off movie that came out at the end of 2018. Bumblebee is getting the credit here for doing close to $500 million in box office receipts around the world. I did a double-take when I saw that. That movie, not only did I not see it, I had no interest in seeing it -- perhaps it's not geared toward me -- but it also seemed like it came and went from the theaters pretty quickly. But then I was reminded of the fact that for whatever you may think of Transformers movies here in the U.S., they keep making these movies because overseas, they do big box office numbers. I mentioned close to $500 million, it was $470 million for this movie, and over 70% of that came from outside the U.S.

Bill Barker: Yeah, there are a lot of different parts to this report. Transformers is one of the things they mentioned. They're sort of lapping a number of the problems, with Toys R Us having closed down and some of the write-offs and liquidation that accompanied that. The part of this that I think bullish investors are going to focus on and find the most interesting is the increasing amount that they are doing with e-games and other mobile. I think that's the growth area. That was up 24%. The rest of the business, you had to make some adjustments on international for currency, but it was closer to flat than you'd really imagine, given the movement of stock price. But the e-games stuff was up 24%, and it's far more profitable than the rest of the business.

Hill: It does seem like Hasbro's move over time, particularly over the last few years, toward intellectual property, has really started to pay off for shareholders.

Barker: Yeah. They've got so many things going on here. Of course, as you look ahead, we've got Avengers coming up any minute now, Frozen later in the year, and Star Wars, and they've got all that. They've got all that here, abroad, everywhere. It just looks now like, not fully completed the cycle of the post-Toys R Us issues, but I think people can see the light at the end of the tunnel today.

Hill: I'm thinking about Toys R Us. It's reminding me of a couple of years ago when Sports Authority went out of business. While that took place over the time frame of just a few months, the ripple effect of that continued to be felt for several quarters for shareholders of Nike and Under Armour. It just continued to come up in those conference calls. It seems like we're, hopefully now, at the end of that happening with Hasbro and eventually Mattel, I suppose.

Barker: Here's something I found interesting in the discussion from management in the conference call. I'll quote this. They said, "As consumers began Easter shopping and new initiatives came on the shelf, including Nerf Fortnite, and Hasbro's line for Marvel's Avengers: Endgame, point of sale improved posting positive Easter-to-Easter comparisons in the U.S." My question is, what are people doing nowadays for Easter?

Hill: Apparently, it involves Avengers and Nerf.

Barker: Nerf Fortnite.

Hill: Yeah. [laughs] Look, the world has changed since you and I were children celebrating Easter.

Barker: [laughs] Is this a big toy holiday now? Back in my day --

Hill: Every holiday is a toy holiday. Are you kidding? Every holiday is a greeting card holiday, every holiday --

Barker: 4th of July, is that a big toy holiday?

Hill: If you consider fireworks to be toys, sure.

Bill Barker has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Bill Barker is an employee of Motley Fool Asset Management, a separate, sister company of The Motley Fool, LLC. The views of Bill Barker and Motley Fool Asset Management are not the views of The Motley Fool, LLC and should not be taken as such. Chris Hill owns shares of UAA and UA. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Hasbro, NKE, UAA, and UA. The Motley Fool is short shares of Hasbro. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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