Speed Daily exclusively learned that the American toy company Hasbro is seeking to sell its well-known IP “Dungeons & Dragons” (referred to as “DND” below), and Tencent is one of the potential buyers.

At present, the negotiations are still in the early stages and both parties have not yet reached an agreement on the details of the transaction.

According to informed sources, the financial crisis faced by Hasbro is the main reason for considering the sale of DND, and Tencent Investment’s Larian Studios is acting as an intermediary in this transaction. Larian Studios’ game “Baldur’s Gate 3” won the TGA Game of the Year award in 2023 and is considered one of the most successful adaptations of DND. As a result, it was seen as a potential target buyer by Hasbro. However, due to insufficient funds, Larian ultimately introduced this deal to shareholder Tencent.

Hasbro was founded in 1923 and has a history of over a hundred years. In 1935, the company gradually became a world-class toy company with its Monopoly series games. It owns well-known IPs such as Transformers, Dungeons & Dragons, Monopoly, and My Little Pony. However, this century-old enterprise is currently facing a huge crisis due to losses. Its stock price has dropped from a high of $108 in 2019 to $51 (closing data on January 26th).

According to the financial report, as of the third quarter of 2023, Hasbro has been experiencing consecutive losses for four quarters due to its main business of toy sales. The accumulated loss from Q4 2022 to Q3 2023 exceeds $500 million USD, and in Q2 2023, there was even a negative free cash flow situation. According to Forbes reports, in response to the crisis, the company underwent significant layoffs last year, with a total reduction of over 1,900 employees accounting for more than 20%.

Although the company as a whole is in a loss situation, its DND-related IP is a high-quality asset and has achieved considerable success in video game adaptations. Last year, the release of “Baldur’s Gate 3” by Larian Studios was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. It not only won six TGA awards, including Game of the Year but also generated revenue of $657 million, surpassing the Harry Potter IP adaptation game “Hogwarts Legacy,” making it the most profitable PC exclusive game last year.

The success of “Baldur’s Gate 3” is also reflected in the financial data of Hasbro. The financial report shows that in the third quarter of 2023, driven by “Baldur’s Gate 3” and another Monopoly IP game called “Monopoly Go!”, Hasbro’s electronic gaming and licensing-related business achieved a contrary year-on-year growth of 40%, reaching $423 million.

Outside of electronic games, DND is also one of the most popular tabletop games in Europe and America. It has appeared multiple times in American TV shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Stranger Things”. A large fan base has formed around its related culture, making it a top-tier IP.

A Tencent IEG (Interactive Entertainment Group) insider revealed that Tencent, represented by its overseas business department IEG Global, is in negotiations with the aim of acquiring a series of rights including the adaptation rights for electronic games such as DND.

According to the aforementioned IEG insiders, Tencent currently holds the game adaptation rights for many top-tier IPs. However, due to the licensing model mostly not being a one-time buyout, Tencent not only needs to bear high copyright fees and long-term revenue sharing but also frequently faces restrictions from its partners in terms of development and operation. Previously, the mobile game adaptation of “NieR” developed by Tencent TiMi Studio was unable to be launched even until the project was cancelled.

If this acquisition is successful, it will enable Tencent to gain dominant control over the IP of Dungeons & Dragons, which will largely avoid the aforementioned issues.

Companies in Europe and America attach great importance to the value of intellectual property (IP), while Chinese companies have limited opportunities to acquire top-tier IP from overseas. For Tencent, the opportunity to acquire the Dungeons & Dragons IP from Hasbro due to financial considerations is a rare chance.

    • Khrux
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      225 months ago

      I really doubt Hasbro are looking to sell it unless they’re planning to shut their doors too. To my knowledge they have two profitable IPs, Magic the gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. D&D is also a strong brand but people don’t need the brand to enjoy the game. If the designers aren’t appeased, they’ll just leave and make their own D&D clone. It’s happened before and it’s currently happening now.

      Also the repeated use of only referring to the game as DND in the article is very odd, nobody calls it that maybe DnD is ok but not in a professional setting where either Dungeons and Dragons or maybe D&D is the standard. It sets off my hearsay alarm massively.

      • deweydecibel
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        165 months ago

        Also the repeated use of only referring to the game as DND in the article is very odd, nobody calls it that maybe DnD is ok but not in a professional setting where either Dungeons and Dragons or maybe D&D is the standard. It sets off my hearsay alarm massively.

        It’s a site based out of Beijing, written in English, reporting on a story published on another Chinese site, that was written in Chinese. It’s completely believable that they wouldn’t know this. There is no & in Chinese, they just write their word for “and”, and not thinking to leave the middle N uncapitalized is hardly an odd mistake.

      • GreatAlbatross
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        15 months ago

        Maybe they just wanted to make the URL pretty, without those spooky % characters!

    • @echo64
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      5 months ago

      No? I know the West has a giant boner for China Bad, but so far, tencent has been … fine. Certainly better than what a lot of American companies have been doing. Hasbro is a good example.

      Edit to point out, “Oh good, the vote bots have arrived on lemmy”. Wonderful, this will be great for the community 👍

      Whoever set that up, it’s pointless on lemmy because votes are pointless and you’re pathetic

      • @[email protected]
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        1425 months ago

        The issue here isnt that Tencent is Chinese. It’s that they’re a massive corporation with basically no interest in the product except how much money it can make.

        WotC seemed to actually care about it and most of the bad decisions were Hasbro’s fault in the name of profitability over quality

        • @MurrayL
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          465 months ago

          they’re a massive corporation with basically no interest in the product except how much money it can make

          I think that describes Hasbro just as well as Tencent.

          • deweydecibel
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            -95 months ago

            I don’t think it does.

            Hasbro is an Western company, DnD is an a Western IP and cultural touchstone. Hasbro is as greedy as any corporation that owns an IP, but at the very least, I trust Hasbro to be staffed with people that have a greater respect for it than Tencent.

            There’s just no good reason why a Chinese company needs to be buying up Western IPs. It’s bad enough we have American conglomerates doing it, but at least they still reside where their roots are.

        • P03 Locke
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          205 months ago

          WotC seemed to actually care about it and most of the bad decisions were Hasbro’s fault in the name of profitability over quality

          WotC stopped existing shortly after Hasbro bought the company. It’s like pretending Blizzard isn’t basically just part of Activision/Microsoft.

        • @[email protected]
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          165 months ago

          Exactly this. I started playing from the blue box back in the late 70s or very early 80s, and I have always been a huge fan of RPGs since. I got into it because I was really into fantasy novels (picked up the addiction from my mom), and those little lead figures of orcs and skeletons with swords were irresistible to me. I even had drinks with Gygax during a con at one point and we talked about the game and his hopes and vision for it all night.

          I wasn’t particularly happy when WotC took over the IP. Companies like TSR and White Wolf just brought so much passion to the games they wrote and you never got the sense of there being corporate bullshit. I never met Richard Garriott, but I got the same vibe from the Ultima games.

          Anyway, yes, the problem is the corporatization of what’s essentially art (for want of a better word). Yes, of course the content creators want and need to get paid, but I’d much rather have a grey beard hippie looking guy who says “You know what would be really cool?” than some American Psycho looking guy trying to milk another couple of million bucks out of a franchise by including products like Coca Cola in tavern menus.

          I really don’t get to play much anymore, but it’s always a little disheartening to watch this kind of thing happen.

        • PLAVAT🧿S
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          95 months ago

          I was about to counterpoint you and say that to make money you need to maintain a good product and then quickly realized how dumb of a thought that was… people gobble up horse shit products like it’s filet mignon.

        • ramOP
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          95 months ago

          Tencent historically is quite hands-off with their investments. Hoping they continue to be so if they did end up purchasing D&D.

          • @Shadywack
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            235 months ago

            If they’re hands off, then it’s an odd coincidence that most of the companies they heavily invest into go to shit it seems like.

            • ramOP
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              65 months ago

              Can you give some examples of companies that went to shit after Tencent purchased them, and what investor-pleasing behaviour they did that led to this enshittification? I’d genuinely appreciate that.

              • @Shadywack
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                35 months ago

                Off the top of my head look at Funcom and the issues Conan Exiles has with server lag, they started suffering “launch fever” aka making new products instead of stabilizing existing ones.

                It’s just my opinion on the enshittification bit but here goes: Funcom Riot Turtle Rock (blatant on this one) Epic (battle passes and loot boxes, since 2012 they have massively pivoted) Frontier Developments (2017 investment, and ARX ran amuck since then while massively enshittifying) Paradox

                Tbf, it only seems like they enshittify because my exposure is to these games and I draw a direct correlation, when I parse through the list I see Remedy and Dont Nod in there, and those two are still cranking out quality against all odds. I don’t get the vibe of “hands off” though, based on the pattern my guess is they have to fight for it. Dunno.

          • Jo Miran
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            15 months ago

            If Tencent buys it but let’s Larian (read Swen) manage its trajectory, it might be a good move.

      • deweydecibel
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        155 months ago

        Few things are more pathetic than someone that edits their original comment to whine about downvotes. It’s sad you genuinely believe only a bot could explain them all.

        • @echo64
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          -35 months ago

          I’m not whining about downvotes, I said they don’t matter here. I’m annoyed at whoever set up a bot to downvote the comment they hate. There was like a hundred in ten minutes. It’s obvious. Downvotes are fine, and botting is pathetic. You understand this, I’m sure.

      • @[email protected]
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        65 months ago

        Remember when there was a lot of concern about China potentially buying Star wars? But then Disney did, I sometimes wonder what it would’ve been like if China had instead.

        • @Cybersteel
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          155 months ago

          No pooh bear in star wars, no blood, no gore, no skeletons or force ghost. Would make for a very boring SW movie.

      • @theparadox
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        5 months ago

        I thought Embracer Group was fine. I was almost a fan of their hands off investments in game studios.

        Then they had a major deal go through that cost them a lot and they have been gutting or closing a lot of great studios they invested in ever since. Anything that isn’t currently making or isn’t guaranteed to make them money hand over fist in the near future, regardless of past performance, is at risk.

        • @echo64
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          -25 months ago

          This was the most American thing I read today 👍

          • @[email protected]
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            25 months ago

            Holy shit, its the cop guy

            What are the odds you have two trash takes in a row? I should check usernames more often apparen