Rumors of takeover talks between toymakers Hasbro and Mattel went unconfirmed by Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner on Wednesday, who told CNBC that his current objective is to bolster his own business.
"We, first and foremost, are investing in our business," Goldner told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview. "We built these capabilities of the brand blueprint over a 10-year period. You're seeing our performance come to the fore. We always are looking at how we return excess cash to shareholders. Our board just approved raise of the dividend to an 11 percent raise. That's really been our focus and I couldn't comment on any M&A speculation."
The CEO reiterated on "Mad Money' what he told analysts on the post-earnings conference call: that Hasbro saw "significant" improvement in Star Wars toy sales in early 2018.
"We really have seen the performance of The Last Jedi product accelerate once people saw the movie, we just thought that the window between the merchandise date and the movie date was a bit too long," the CEO told Cramer. "We've already taken that into consideration in partnership with Disney."
Goldner said that sales of toys for "Solo," the next movie in the Star Wars franchise based around the character of Han Solo, would reflect the new strategy.
"We'll shorten that window, which enables us to take advantage of both paid and earned media and all the excitement around that movie coming to theaters," Goldner said. "You can imagine that between Last Jedi and its home entertainment window and the Solo movie, we have great product at all kinds of different price points for fans and families."
For Goldner, the next leg of Hasbro's journey will come from the toymaker taking more ownership of its brands.
"We want to own more of the franchise economics of our brands," the CEO said. "We own all the rights. You're seeing Transformers activated in mobile gaming, you're seeing it on a PC online game with Tencent in China. You're seeing My Little Pony, in that animated film we made for a nominal amount of money, really bring to life our consumer products business."
"It allows us to go around the world with one voice to retailers, offering everything from apparel to toys and games, and that's really activating our brand and delivering value for shareholders."