Hasbro awarded contract for Harry Potter cards

Retailing

February 12, 2000|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Hasbro Inc., the world's No. 2 toy maker, won a contract yesterday from Warner Bros. to make trading cards, electronic games and candy based on the popular Harry Potter children's books a day after losing the coveted toy contract to rival Mattel Inc.

Terms weren't disclosed. Through various units, Hasbro, maker of Tonka trucks and Monopoly, will make Harry Potter-based trading cards, electronic games, personal radios and the Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans featured in the books.

Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc., got worldwide licensing and merchandising rights as part of a contract with author J. K. Rowling to film the first two Harry Potter books. Mattel, the world's biggest toy maker, won a bidding war to make toys and games based on the book series.

"This could be better than the toy license," said Sean McGowan, an analyst with Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. "Harry Potter has a broader age appeal than the typical licensed property like Batman. The real gem is going to be the video game license and that hasn't been awarded yet."

Although written for children, the books have become popular with older readers and have won several awards while topping the New York Times and USA Today best-seller lists.

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