Blackstone Acquires Death Row Records Owner eOne Music In $385 Million Deal

Dr. Dre hospital update
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Dr. Dre hospital update
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Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, two of the original Death Row Records artists, performing live. Photo Credit: Jason Persse / CC by 2.0

The Harry Fox Agency (HFA) and SESAC owner The Blackstone Group has officially agreed to purchase Hasbro’s eOne Music for $385 million.

Blackstone and Hasbro unveiled the all-cash deal today, via a formal release. For background, the 97-year-old toy manufacturer completed its $3.8 billion acquisition of the overarching Entertainment One (eOne) back in December of 2019.

In addition to eOne Music (which includes Dualtone Records and the legendary Death Row Records), eOne encompasses a television unit that handles international distribution for programs like The Walking Dead, as well as a Family & Brands division that owns IP such as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks.

Last month, reports suggested that the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based company was looking to cash out of eOne Music – albeit for $600 million. Nevertheless, Hasbro intends to use the $385 million tranche from the sale (which has received approval from both parties’ boards and is expected to officially close in 2021’s second or third quarter) “to accelerate deleveraging and other general corporate purposes.”

And eOne Music, for its part, “will operate as a separate business unit,” with Last Gang Entertainment founder Chris Taylor remaining on as global president as the entity looks to build “a creator-first music brand with global scale and expertise.” Addressing the sale to Blackstone, Taylor touched upon his vision for eOne Music’s role in the creative space moving forward.

“I’m excited to continue to lead and grow this exceptional business. We want the creative community to know that we are focused on making sure that this only benefits them and the work we do together. I also want to thank Brian Goldner and Hasbro for their support and partnership,” said Taylor.

Also worth noting is that Death Row Records – which released the debut albums of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre – rolled out a merch store about one month ago, in commemoration of its 30th anniversary. Death Row apparel, vinyl, cassette tapes, and even multi-thousand-dollar NFTs are available to purchase presently.

At the time of this piece’s publishing, Hasbro stock (HAS on NASDAQ) was up 2.19 percent on the day, with a per-share price of $99.14. The figure represents a roughly $30-per-share increase from late April of 2020, and HAS shares also dipped to almost $60 each in May of last year.

Earlier today, music licensing and distribution platform Songtradr acquired visual-media music database Tunefind. And about six weeks ago, subscription-based royalty-free music platform Epidemic Sound raised $450 million (at a total valuation of $1.4 billion) from investors Blackstone Growth and EQT Growth.