7, Apr, 22

"Free the Wizards" Has Seemingly Major Setback, But They're Not Done

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Article at a Glance

Earlier this year, some very interesting news broke that Jon Finkel, one of Magic: the Gathering‘s most beloved professional players, was being nominated for board position at Hasbro. This nomination comes from investment group Alta Fox, which owns 2.5% of Hasbro. Well, we’re now seeing some of the results of this attempted nomination and what the group is doing in response to it.

The Goal

Jon Finkel

We won’t go through too much of the specifics of the group’s aims, since we’ve done that here. The long and short of everything is, is that Alta Fox believes that Wizards of the Coast have lost their connection to players. They also claim that WotC is a severely undervalued segment of Hasbro, which is causing falling share prices and poor business decisions within Wizards.

The generalized solutions for these issues were to appoint Jon Finkel to the Board of Directors at Hasbro, being that bridge between players and corporate, and to spin off Wizards of the Coast into a more independent entity, allowing for more targeted business and financial decisions that benefit WotC and the players of their games.

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The First Wall

Wizards of the Coast

The first wall that Hasbro had put up in front of Alta Fox happened a couple days ago. According to the Wallstreet Journal, Hasbro Executives flat out reject the idea of spinning off Hasbro. They believe that it would be “unlikely to create value, is against Hasbro’s Strategy, and would negatively impact the benefits that Wizards of the Coast relies on”. In place of Finkel, Hasbro appointed 2 new board members, Discord COO Elizabeth Hamren, and Former Electronic Arts CFO and COO Blake Jorgensen.

They Aren’t Done

Where things get interesting is Alta Fox’s response to all of this. With a recent filing with the SEC, Alta Fox notes that Wizards of the Coast makes up roughly 70% of Hasbro’s value. They also believe that the potential of WotC is being incorrectly utilized by the inexperience on the board. While this may seem like a low effect, this is putting information out into the public to gain more attention to the cause.

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What do you think about all of this? Do you think that WotC should be it’s own entity and split off from Hasbro?

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