Last year Haim Saban sold a kids brand that exploded in the 1990s and bought a movie equipment-maker that made its name in the 1950s.
Saban’s $522 million sale of the Power Rangers and other intellectual property to Hasbro Inc. in May was not linked to Saban buying Panavision Inc. in September, stressed Adam Chesnoff, president of Saban Capital Group, Saban’s main investment vehicle.
The deals do, however, indicate the 73-year-old Saban, who was not made available for an interview, continues to restructure his investment portfolio in ways off the beaten path.
Saban made his fortune from the Power Rangers, “But he decided there’s only so much you can squeeze out of that orange,” said Lloyd Greif, founder and chief executive of investment banking firm Greif & Co.
By acquiring Panavision, plus post-production studio Sim Video International Inc. for a total of $622 million through Saban Capital Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, Saban has bet there is comparably more to squeeze from a motion picture market that has increased its output of original content in recent years.
Saban, who had a net worth of $4.3 billion prior to the Power Rangers and Panavision deals, according to Business Journal calculations, came upon the Power Rangers concept while staying at a Japanese hotel.
He was transfixed by a cartoon showing five children in different colored spandex suits fighting monsters and, by 1993, engineered the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” debut on Fox Broadcasting Co. Inc.
The live-action version of the Japanese cartoon was an instant hit – with millions of Power Ranger action figures sold, and in 2001, Saban sold the Power Rangers’ usage rights to Walt Disney Co.
Disney, though, never prominently featured the Power Rangers, and Saban bought back the Power Rangers rights in 2010 for $60 million.
He also created in 2010 Saban Brands to manage the Power Rangers and other child-focused intellectual property.
Saban Brands worked to revive Power Rangers’ visibility, according to Chesnoff, including placing the show on cable TV channel Nickelodeon and releasing a 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. “Power Rangers” movie.
Pawtucket, R.I.-headquartered Hasbro entered the picture in early 2018 with the announcement it would license all Power Rangers toys.
“Soon after entering into our licensing agreement, it became clear that there was significant opportunity for Power Rangers across the entire Hasbro brand blueprint,” said Crystal Flynn, a spokeswoman for Hasbro.
Hasbro announced in May the outright purchase of Saban Brands, whose properties also include My Pet Monster and Luna Petunia, for $252 million in cash and more than 3 million shares of Hasbro stock, valued at $270 million.
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