November 13, 2014 / 2:55 AM / 4 years ago

Hasbro in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation: source

(Reuters) - Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) is in early talks to buy Hollywood studio DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc DWA.O, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

DreamWorks’ shares closed up 14 percent at $25.52 on Thursday.

Hasbro’s stock closed down 4.3 percent as investors worried over the impact of a deal on the company’s partnership with Disney.

DreamWorks Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg is seeking more than $30 per share, according to the New York Times, which first reported the talks.

The offer values DreamWorks at $2.56 billion, according to calculations by Reuters. The company’s stock closed at $22.37 on Wednesday.

Hasbro, the second-largest U.S. toymaker, is seeing a strong demand in emerging markets for Marvel action figures such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, which the company has licensed from Walt Disney & Co (DIS.N).

Hasbro’s partnership with Disney could be at risk if the deal goes through, as DreamWorks competes directly with the company, Piper Jaffray analyst Stephanie Wissink wrote in a note.

Toys based on Disney’s characters account for 25-30 percent of Hasbro’s annual revenue and $200-$250 million of annual profits, Piper Jaffray analysts estimated.

Wissink is the top-rated analyst for the accuracy of her recommendations on Hasbro, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.

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However, other analysts said Hasbro could benefit from DreamWorks rich collection of animation characters such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.

DreamWorks spokesman Matthew Lifson and Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy said separately that the companies do not comment on rumors and speculation.

DreamWorks talks with Hasbro come more than a month after discussions with Japan’s Softbank (9984.T) fell apart, with one source citing price as a dissuading factor.

Additional reporting by Supriya Kurane and Ramkumar Iyer in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Sriraj Kalluvila

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