Exclusive: Hasbro set to defeat Alta Fox board challenge-sources

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FILE PHOTO: The Hasbro, Inc. logo is seen on a toy for sale in a store in Manhattan, New York

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hasbro Inc is poised to prevail over a board challenge from activist hedge fund Alta Fox, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

This outcome would be a blow to Alta Fox, which had pushed the toymaker to spin off its Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming unit and criticized how the company allocated its capital.

Early vote tallies show Hasbro ahead of Alta Fox, which nominated one director to the company’s 13-member board, the sources said.

Investors will be allowed to vote until Hasbro’s annual shareholder meeting begins on Wednesday and it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the outcome may change, the sources said, requesting anonymity ahead of an official announcement.

Hasbro declined to comment. Alta Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hasbro, valued at $12 billion, is known for making Monopoly and My Little Pony. Its stock price has fallen 18% in the last five years while the S&P 500 Index has climbed 70%.

Alta Fox, which owns a 2.5% stake in Hasbro, first nominated five directors to the company’s board before scaling back its ambitions.

Proxy advisory firm ISS has recommended that shareholders withhold votes for Edward Philip, who has served on Hasbro’s board for 20 years, to signal their unhappiness. The sources said Philip is set to be re-elected regardless.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis)