Months later, still no decision on new Hasbro HQ

Business News
Raimondo, legislative leaders discuss future of Hasbro

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Late last year, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner laid out a timeline for the company’s anxiously watched decision-making process around selecting a new headquarters.

“I would say we’re probably still another three to six months away from a real plan,” Goldner said during a December interview with WPRI 12.

It’s now been nine months, and Hasbro has remained mum on whether the iconic toy company – renovate its existing Pawtucket campus, move to Providence or — in a worst-case scenario for Rhode Island leaders — leave the state after nearly a century.

While Hasbro has been considering its future space needs for years, the company has stuck to a policy of saying little publicly.

Asked for an update, Hasbro spokesperson Julie Duffy told WPRI 12, “The process is still ongoing and I don’t have any news to share. We had all hoped we’d have some conclusion by now but unfortunately we’re not there yet.” She declined to comment further.

Goldner and his executive team have had plenty of other matters filling their to-do lists this year. The company has been working to rebound from the closure of Toys R Us while dealing with the effects of tariffs and the trade war, and recently announced a $4 billion deal to buy Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One.

Investors have cheered the moves: Hasbro shares are up 46% on the New York Stock Exchange so far this year.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the headquarters decision, Gov. Gina Raimondo said she is not alarmed, chalking up the delay to Goldner and his team “being busy with other things at the company.”

“I’ve been in touch with them throughout the summer,” Raimondo told WPRI 12. “I still remain confident that they will remain a Rhode Island company.”

“I ping them once every few weeks to make sure he knows that I think they belong in Rhode Island,” she said, referring to Goldner. “We’ll do whatever it takes to keep them in Rhode Island. I have no reason to believe that that’s not their plan. Having said that, I don’t know anything more than you about their specific timing.”

Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, who has been fighting to convince Hasbro not to leave his city for Providence or elsewhere, continues to frequently remind the company of its importance to Pawtucket, Grebien spokesperson Wil Arboleda said in an email.

“Hasbro is Pawtucket’s largest employer, taxpayer, and has been a significant partner in our community for decades,” he said.

The company recently informed Grebien’s office “that they continue to evaluate several options for contemporizing their corporate headquarters,” Arboleda said, though executives have been mostly communicating with R.I. Commerce Corp. officials.

“Understanding that they are a private company assessing all possibilities, we are confident that Pawtucket has all of the amenities to fit Hasbro’s needs and will continue working with Commerce RI and the state to ensure that Hasbro continues in Pawtucket for years to come,” he said.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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