Entertainment One

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Entertainment One, LLC
  • Records On Wheels Limited (1970–1980)
  • ROW Entertainment (1980–2005)
  • Entertainment One Income Fund (2005–2009)
  • E1 Entertainment (2009–2010)
Industry Entertainment
Predecessors Koch Entertainment
Alliance Films
Founded 1970; 51 years ago (1970) in Toronto, Ontario
Founder Darren Throop
Headquarters ,
United States
Area served
Key people
Michael Lombardo
(Head of Entertainment, Hasbro)
Nick Meyer
(President, Motion Pictures)
Mark Burnett
(President, Television)
Olivier Dumont
(President of Family Brands)
  • motion pictures
  • television
  • virtual reality
Revenue £941.2 million (2019)
Parent Hasbro (2019-present)
Divisions Motion Pictures
Family Brands
Website entertainmentone.com

Entertainment One, LLC, commonly abbreviated as eOne (formerly known as Records on Wheels Limited, ROW Entertainment, and E1 Entertainment), is a multinational entertainment company that currently serves as the content production and distribution subsidiary of American toy manufacturer Hasbro.

Founded in Toronto, Ontario and currently based in Burbank, California, the company is primarily involved in the acquisition, distribution, and production of films, music, and television series. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it was acquired by Hasbro on December 30, 2019.

History[edit source]

Establishment[edit source]

The company has its origins in the music distributor Records on Wheels (which was established in 1970), and the music retail chain CD Plus. The chain was in the process of acquiring other companies to bolster its wholesale operations in music and home video, leading to its purchase of ROW in 2001. Its vice president of operations, Darren Throop, had joined the company after CD Plus acquired his Halifax-based record store chain Urban Sound Exchange. The combined company later became known as ROW Entertainment, with Throop as president and CEO. The company listed itself on the Toronto Stock Exchange as an income trust, meaning that its taxes were paid by its shareholders, rather than the company itself.

Afterward, ROW began to diversify its operations into content ownership. In June 2005, it acquired the American independent music distributor and home entertainment publisher Koch Entertainment.

In 2007, the company accepted a $188 million public equity takeover by Marwyn Investment Management to fund its expansion; the company was listed on London's Alternative Investment Market as Entertainment One Ltd.

Expansion[edit source]

In 2007, Entertainment One acquired Montreal-based film distributor Seville Pictures and UK distributor Contender Entertainment Group. The same year, the company secured its first film output agreement with Summit Entertainment, handling distribution in Canada and the United Kingdom, and acquired British film distributor Contender Entertainment. Acquisitions continued in 2008 with the purchase of the Benelux distributor RCV Entertainment. The same year, eOne acquired the television studios Blueprint and Barna-Alper, and international television distributor Oasis International. Throop stated that the company was attempting to "replicate the success of Alliance Atlantis", with a focus on diversifying into production alongside distribution. Also in 2008, the company listed itself on the London Stock Exchange.

In April 2011, eOne acquired Australian distribution company Hopscotch for £12.9 million. On May 28, 2012, eOne placed a bid to purchase the Canadian film distributor Alliance Films from Goldman Sachs Group and Investissement Québec. The deal was completed on January 9, 2013, giving eOne Canadian distribution rights for titles from Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Lionsgate Films and Focus Features. On May 28, 2014, eOne announced a strategic investment in interactive agency Secret Location; the firm would continue to operate independently under the leadership of James Milward (President, Executive Producer and Founder), and partners Pietro Gagliano (Creative Director and SVP) and Ryan Andal (Technical Director and SVP). On June 2, 2014, eOne acquired Phase 4 Films; its CEO Berry Meyerowitz was named as head of eOne's U.S. film distribution business and North American family entertainment business. On July 17, the company acquired Paperny Entertainment. On August 28, 2014, eOne acquired Force Four Entertainment.

On January 5, 2015, eOne acquired a 51% stake in Mark Gordon's self-named studio, with an option to acquire the remainder at a later date. The purchase was part of an effort by eOne to bolster its presence in the United States. On September 9, 2015, eOne revived the Momentum Pictures brand (which was previously used by Alliance UK) and announced that it had entered into a multi-picture deal with Orion Pictures to jointly acquire films for "specialized theatrical releases" in the U.S., and targeted international releases, focusing on ancillary and digital distribution.

Marwyn Investment Management sold its 18% stake in Entertainment One to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) on September 16, 2015.

On September 30, 2015, eOne acquired a 70% stake in British animation studio Astley Baker Davies—producers of the animated children's series Peppa Pig. On December 16, 2015, eOne, Steven Spielberg, Reliance Entertainment, and Participant Media officially announced a joint venture known as Amblin Partners. eOne serves as an investor, while the majority of its films will be distributed by Universal Pictures.

On January 7, 2016, eOne made a strategic investment in Sierra Pictures and on January 20, 2016, the company acquired Dualtone Music Group. On March 8, 2016, eOne the acquired music recording, publishing and artist management company Last Gang, and announced that its founder Chris Taylor would join the company as president of music. In 2016, eOne acquired a majority stake in unscripted production company Renegade 83.

On August 10, 2016, eOne rejected an offer to be acquired by British television broadcaster ITV plc for £1 billion ($1.3 billion US). eOne considered the offer to be "fundamentally undervalued".

On August 17, 2016, eOne announced that it would acquire Secret Location outright for an undisclosed amount. On September 12, 2016, eOne announced its acquisition of UK-based music management company Hardlivings. That same year, eOne acquired music management company Nerve.

On September 9, 2016, eOne reached a first look co-financing and international distribution deal with Tucker Tooley's Tooley Productions.

In 2016, eOne entered into an agreement with Ole (now Anthem Entertainment) to administer its catalogue.

eOne consolidated its film and television studios into a single structure in 2017, as part of an effort to reposition its operations towards production rather than acquisitions and "large output deals".

In May 2017, eOne joined with Hollywood producer Brad Weston to launch global content creation studio MAKEREADY. The deal secured distribution rights for eOne in its territories and Universal in all other territories worldwide.

In 2017, eOne joined Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment, Alibaba Pictures and Universal Pictures in backing Amblin Partners, a content creation company led by Steven Spielberg.

On January 29, 2018, eOne acquired the remaining 49% in The Mark Gordon Co., and Gordon was named eOne's new president and chief content officer of film, television and digital. In March 2018, eOne acquired live entertainment company Round Room Live, which organizes major tours including PJ Masks among others. In April 2018, eOne acquired UK non-scripted production company Whizz Kid Entertainment. Later that year, eOne joined a round of investment in Jeffrey Katzenberg's short-form digital content venture "NewTV" (later renamed Quibi).

On March 5, 2019, eOne's Benelux division was acquired by a new company named WW Entertainment, founded by Wilco Wolfers and Caspar Wenckebach. As a result, all eOne Benelux titles, including future releases, have since moved to WW. Later that month, eOne reached an agreement with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to handle home media distribution of its films and television series in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

In 2019, eOne acquired UK-based unscripted company Daisybeck Studios. That same year, eOne acquired American long-form nonfiction producer BLACKFIN. Also in 2019, eOne Music acquired Audio Network, a British company involved in the production of music for film and television, for $215 million.

Acquisitions and targets[edit source]

Since listing on AIM, eOne/Hasbro Studios has made a series of acquisitions.

  • In June 2007, eOne acquired Contender Entertainment Group, one of the largest distributors of TV content in the UK (now operates as eOne UK)
  • In August 2007, eOne acquired Seville Entertainment Inc. for an undisclosed sum (now operates as Les Films Séville)
  • In January 2008, eOne acquired the Netherlands-based distributor RCV Entertainment (now operates as eOne Benelux)
  • In July 2008, eOne acquired TV producers Blueprint Entertainment and Barna-Alper Productions as well as domestic distributors Oasis International and Maximum Films. (Barna-Alper now operating as eOne Television, Maximum Films amalgamated into eOne Films Canada while Maximum Film International was amalgamated into Les Films Séville, all others closed)
  • In April 2011, eOne acquired Australian distribution company Hopscotch for £12.9 million. (now operates as eOne Australia)
  • In January 2013 eOne acquired Alliance Films.
  • In June 2014 eOne acquired Phase 4 Films.
  • In July 2014, eOne acquired Paperny Entertainment.
  • In August 2014, eOne acquired Force Four Entertainment.
  • In May 2014, eOne made a strategic equity investment in interactive agency Secret Location, and later took full control.
  • In January 2015, eOne acquired a 51% stake in The Mark Gordon Company, the production studio behind such TV series as Quantico, Grey's Anatomy, Army Wives, Ray Donovan and Criminal Minds; and films such as Steve Jobs, Source Code, The Day After Tomorrow, and Speed. It acquired the remaining 49% in January 2018.
  • In September 2015, eOne acquired a controlling stake on Astley Baker Davies thus increasing its ownership of the preschool franchise Peppa Pig.
  • In March 2018, eOne acquired Round Room Entertainment, a live entertainment company, founded by Stephen Shaw in 2016.
  • In April 2018, eOne acquired a majority 70% stake in British-based Whizz Kid Entertainment, producer of Ex on the Beach.
  • In April 2019, eOne acquired UK-based Audio Network, an independent creator and publisher of original music for use in film, television, advertising and digital media.
  • In July, eOne acquired British factual producer Daisybeck Studios.
  • In September 2019, eOne acquired US-based, nonfiction content producer Blackfin.

Acquisition by Hasbro[edit source]

On August 22, 2019, American toy and media company Hasbro announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Entertainment One for US$4 billion. Throop cited that its goals to "unlock the power and value of creativity" were "[aligned] with Hasbro's corporate objectives", and would be enhanced by access to Hasbro's properties and merchandising capabilities. eOne's Canadian operations will be structured in such a way as to maintain eligibility for Canadian content classification. The deal was approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. On November 21, 2019, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it would investigate the purchase under British competition law, to determine if it would result in a lessening of competition.

The sale was completed on December 30, 2019. Throop remains CEO of eOne, reporting to Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner. The UK CMA cleared the acquisition the following month. In April 2020, eOne had in early development (scripting) of its first Hasbro related film, an untitled Transformers animated film.

In October 2020, eOne took over as Hasbro's new production arm and began development and distribution of content based on properties from the toy company, resulting in Allspark being absorbed into the acquired company. On February 10, 2021, it was announced that Hasbro would be laying off 10% of Entertainment One's employees.

Divisions[edit source]

Motion Pictures[edit source]

The eOne film division was initially involved primarily in acquiring films for international distribution, but has since shifted its resources towards producing and funding its own films. The division was formed in 2007, and acquired the Montreal-based Séville Pictures soon afterwards. In 2012, the company announced that it would acquire Alliance Films for CDN$225 million, which also added the assets of Maple Pictures and Momentum Pictures to its holdings.

In May 2015, eOne consolidated its film production and international sales units into a new unit known as eOne Features, with a goal to self-produce and finance six-to-eight films per-year. On December 16, 2015, it was announced that eOne would be an investor in Amblin Partners, a joint venture between Steven Spielberg, Reliance Entertainment, and Participant Media, and Universal Pictures. One of the first film projects under this banner was 2015's Eye in the Sky. eOne consolidated its film and television studios into a single structure in 2017, as part of an effort to reposition its operations towards production rather than acquisitions and "large output deals".

In January 2019, Universal Pictures acquired eOne's Australian and New Zealand self-distribution division. eOne distributed Universal's Best Picture winner Green Book in 2019. eOne has also distributed Best Picture winner Spotlight and Best Picture nominee 1917.

As of 2022, the Motion Pictures group comprises the following labels:

  • eOne Releasing: eOne Releasing, a joint venture between eOne and Annapurna Pictures, is responsible for the U.S. distribution of eOne's films, as well as films produced by Annapurna and Amblin Partners. The distributor, originally founded in December 2017 as Mirror Releasing before being rebranded as United Artists Releasing in January 2019, also offers alternative services to the major studios and streaming companies with 10–14 films to be released each year. In addition to the main eOne label - which replaced the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer banner in September 2022, it also releases films via the following four labels:
    • Orion Pictures: A label specializing in modestly budgeted films a year across genres and platforms, and both wide and limited releases for targeted audiences, Orion's history dates back to 1978, when it was formed as a joint venture between Warner Bros and three former senior executives at United Artists. Orion has been owned by MGM since 1997. In 2013, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer revived the Orion name for television; a year later, Orion Pictures was relaunched by the studio.
    • American International Pictures:
    • Allspark Pictures:
  • Momentum Pictures: Momentum is eOne's multiplatform film distribution label, based in Toronto, but largely releasing films in the U.S., operating an autonomous distribution unit from eOne Releasing. Momentum devises a targeted distribution strategy for each production that capitalizes on a film or series’ strengths and potential audience.  The content distributed spans a broad range of genres, from high caliber independent movies to documentaries, kids & family films and series.
  • Canadian Distribution:
    • Les Films Séville: A sister studio of eOne's Canadian branch headquartered in Montréal, Séville is the leading distributor of film content in Québec. An important partner of the Quebec film industry, it is the company's French-language Canadian distribution arm, and previously operated Seville International, a Montreal-based international film distribution boutique specializing in strong independent films with crossover potential and arthouse films with award pedigree from Québec, Canada and around the world, which closed in 2019.
  • International Distribution: Hasbro Studios operates fully-owned distribution branches in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Spain, as well as joint ventures with WW Entertainment in the Benelux, Paramount Pictures in Germany and Universal Pictures in Australia and New Zealand. These local branches distribute films from the main Hasbro Studios slate, as well as some locally-produced and third-party films.
  • Sierra/Affinity: Sierra/Affinity is eOne's international sales arm, representing sales of original and third-party films, which was founded by Nick Meyer in 2009 as Sierra Pictures, and adopted its current name in 2011, when it merged with Affinity International. eOne made a strategic equity investment in Sierra Affinity and Sierra Pictures in January 2016, and acquired the remaining stake in the company and Meyer was appointed as president of the company's film operations. Sierra/Affinity handles sales and distribution of films outside of North America, the UK and Spain, where eOne has local distribution offices.
  • Amblin Partners: Amblin Partners is a content creation company, led by Steven Spielberg, that develops and produces films using the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant banners and includes Amblin Television, a longtime leader in quality programming. Aside from Hasbro Studios, the company’s other investment partners include Participant, Reliance Entertainment, and Alibaba Pictures. NBCUniversal's Universal Pictures was also a minor investor in Amblin Partners until the MGM-Hasbro merger, when eOne Releasing took over domestic distribution of future Amblin Partners-produced films (with some exceptions).

Television[edit source]

eOne's television division was founded in 1980 as Barna-Alper Productions in Toronto, Ontario. In April 2005, the company launched a distribution division, Barna-Alper Releasing. Entertainment One acquired Barna-Alper Productions Inc., Blueprint Entertainment, and distributor Oasis International in July 2008 to expand its television production and distribution capabilities. As part of a company-wide rebrand, the three companies were folded into E1 Television in January 2009.

Notable television series distributed or produced by Entertainment One and its subsidiaries have included the three Ilana Frank-produced series Burden of Truth, Rookie Blue and Saving Hope, Bitten, The Book of Negroes, Border Security: Canada's Front Line, Call Me Fitz, Cardinal, Criminal Minds, Survivor, Shark Tank, Designated Survivor, Haven, Klondike, Mary Kills People, Naked and Afraid, Private Eyes, The Voice. The Rookie, Siesta Key, Fargo, The Handmaid's Tale, The Walking Dead, and the HBO series Hung, Run, and Sharp Objects.

Family & Brands[edit source]

eOne's family and brands division deals primarily in family-oriented propterties, intellectual property, including development, distribution, licensing, and marketing. The division has been seen growth credited to retail sales, licensing deals, and programming sales to broadcasters, accounting for US$202 million in revenue in 2018. It represented a year-over-year increase of 28%, with Peppa Pig and PJ Masks alone accounting for $114.9 million and $75.8 million respectively.

The division owns the following production studios:

Divested[edit source]

Music & Live[edit source]

eOne's music division spans music production, recording, artist management, live entertainment and publishing. The division was first formed as Koch Records before being renamed in 2009. The group owns the libraries of Artemis Records, Death Row Records, and Dualtone Records. In March 2016, Chris Taylor became the new president of eOne Music after it acquired his label Last Gang Records.

Productions[edit source]

Films[edit source]

TV series[edit source]

Kids/family[edit source]

Virtual reality[edit source]

Library[edit source]

Former names and logos[edit source]

External links[edit source]