In $500 Million Deal, Haim Saban Parting Ways With Power Rangers

U.S. toymaker Hasbro is buying rights to superhero franchise and other brands

Haim Saban, then chairman and chief executive officer of Saban Capital Group Inc., arrives to the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., July 2016
Bloomberg

After a quarter of a century, Haim Saban is parting way with the Power Rangers, the team of superheroes that launched the Israeli-American entertainment entrepreneur’s career and made a billionaire.

His Saban Properties said Tuesday that U.S. toymaker Hasbro had signed a definitive agreement for Hasbro to purchase the Power Rangers brand for $522 million. The deal includes several other entertainment brands, such as My Pet Monster, Popples, Julius Jr., Luna Petunia and Treehouse Detectives.

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Saban will get $229.75 million in cash and $270 million worth of Hasbro common stock and he will be retained as a consultant.

“Power Rangers is an iconic brand built on a heritage of great storytelling and merchandising with tremendous upside potential when fully executed across Hasbro’s brand blueprint,” Hasbro chairman and CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement.

“We see significant opportunity for Power Rangers across our entire Brand Blueprint, including toys and games, consumer products, digital gaming and entertainment, as well as geographically throughout our global retail footprint,” he added.

The deal follows a February agreement under which Hasbro paid Saban Brands $22.25 million for a Power Rangers master toy license agreement. “Shortly after entering into our licensing arrangement, it became clear that now was the time to begin investing in unlocking Power Rangers’ full potential,” said Goldner.

The first set of products from Hasbro will be available in spring 2019.

Created by Saban and launched in 1993, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of ordinary teenagers who become superheroes when the need arises, was a mélange of footage from a Japanese program mixed with original footage set in a California town.

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The series became a pop culture phenomenon and today is one of the longest running children’s live-action series in television history, with nearly 900 episodes produced to date.

In its 25th season, now as “Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel,” the series airs in 150 markets around the world and is translated into numerous languages. The most recent feature film was a 2017 picture produced by Lionsgate.

Saban himself morphed into a Hollywood billionaire, parlaying the success of Power Rangers to build a media empire. In 1996, he merged his Saban Entertainment with News Corporation’s Fox Children’s Productions to create a children’s channel that was later sold to Walt Disney Company.

Seven years later, Saban led a consortium that acquired a controlling stake in Germanys ProSiebenSat.1 media group, later selling it to the private equity funds KKR and Permira in a deal valuing the company at 5.6 billion euros ($7.4 billion at the time). Saban also led a group that in 2006 that acquired the American Spanish-language broadcaster Univision for $12.3 billion.

Forbes magazine ranks Saban 247th among American’s wealthiest people with a net worth of $3.5 billion. He is a major contributor to pro-Israel causes as well as to groups working with children, education and women’s health.