Written by Brenda Nakalema

Hasbro Has a Second Activist. What This Implies for Stock.

A second activist investor has staked a claim in Hasbro (ticker: HAS), calling for changes to be made by the …

FIILE PHOTO: A Monopoly board game by Hasbro Gaming is seen in this illustration photo August 13, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

A second activist investor has staked a claim in Hasbro (ticker: HAS), calling for changes to be made by the toymaker, only a week after rival Mattel (ticker: MAT) was rumoured to be going private.

Ancora Holdings dispatched a public letter to Hasbro in which it supported a move toward voting new members to the company’s board of directors, a demand in line with the request made by fellow activist Alta Fox Capital. Ancora, which owns roughly 1% of Hasbro, also requested the company to consider a full or partial sale of its television division, Entertainment one.

Ancora’s latest move comes a little over a month before Hasbro’s annual meeting; in the meantime, the company has already appointed two new board members, and Alta Fox Capital has nominated a few more people. Alta Fox Capital didn’t hold back on its criticism of the company’s purchase of Entertainment One when it unveiled a 2.5% stake in Hasbro last month. However, its major focus is for the company to spin off its “Wizards of the coast” gaming unit.

Rival company Mattel (ticker: MAT) is rumoured to be in talks to sell itself to private-equity buyers despite having previously rejected numerous buyout bids.

So far, the market’s response has been measured, with Hasbro gaining 0.5% to $90.15 in recent trading. The two rivals have been on different paths lately, with smaller Mattel gaining over 14% in 2022 while Hasbro has dropped nearly 12%.

The situation might change on the back of news about Ancora. With a second activist making demands, the pressure on Hasbro might be too much to resist making at least a few concessions, meaning shares might trade more on hopes about the upcoming proxy battle in June.

Mattel and Hasbro had many fights over the years, fighting over valuable franchises like Walt Disney’s (ticker: DIS) “Frozen”, not forgetting when Hasbro made a failed attempt to buy Mattel in 2017.

However, even with all this drama, these aren’t the only companies faced with activist pressure, given the recent pressure in the retail sector. Bed Bath & Beyond (ticker: BBBY) has faced pressure to sell its buybuy Baby Unit, Dollar Tree (ticker: DLTR) changed its entire board at the request of Mantle Ridge, while Kohl’s (ticker: KSS) is fighting a proxy battle with Macellum.