WSJ: Prov Equity In Talks for Toymaker Hasbro

(Reuters) – Providence Equity Partners is in preliminary talks with toy maker Hasbro Inc (HAS.N) to take the company private in a leveraged buyout, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Spokesmen for Providence and Hasbro were not immediately available for comment.

Talks were in their early stages, according to the report, towards a deal, which would be the year’s biggest by private equity.

Despite Europe’s credit crisis, which has raised the cost of financing, financing would be available to acquire a company that has good cash flow and credit, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

The parties involved are proceeding slowly because of the uncertainty surrounding the markets, the report said.

Hasbro shares closed down 0.4 percent on Wednesday at $41.12, putting Hasbro’s market capitalization at just over $6 billion, according to Reuters Data.

Hasbro has said it saw momentum in its games and boys’ toys and expected sales and profit to rise this year. In April, the toymaker said it expected gains from toys tied to movies like “Iron Man 2” and “Toy Story 3.”

Those have been among the most successful of Hollywood’s offerings during the crucial summer movie season. (Reporting by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)