legodavee123 wrote: Well, if it's only a million shares, that's peanuts. I believe there's in the ballpark of 136 million shares outstanding for Hasbro, so a million, while a decent chunk for a single holder, is small potatoes overall. We're not talking about a level of majority ownership or anything.
Millions. Plural. What I have read, here
, indicates that he was given warrants potentially enabling him to own (if I am understanding it correctly) around 40 million shares through himself, Lucasfilm, and Lucasfilm Licensing. Doing a little more research I came across this
indicating that Hasbro excercised their right to buy the option from Lucas for $200 million. So, from the most recent data I can find, I do not know if Lucas owns any stock. However, until 2007, he had the option to buy several million shares at a reduced rate meaning he still had an interest in the stock doing well overall so he could collect on both ends.
I missed the part where Lucasfilm would have grounds to sue? Hasbro could try, but precedent's been established, so it's unlikely to be successful to any degree.
If Hasbro had sole rights to manufacture figures and the LEGO figures are a violation of that contract then I believe Lucasfilm has grounds to sue because LEGO is violating the contract with Lucasfilm. I have my doubts Hasbro would take the lead. If Lucas is in disagreement they may upset the goose that's laying the golden eggs. So, Hasbro takes the shots that it can, but won't try anything serious without the backing of Lucas.
Back in the late 1990's, as I understand it, there was a bidding war between toy companies on the various licenses for Star Wars merchandise. As I recall, Hasbro won the major license for toys, and LEGO won the license to produce constructable toys. I seem to remember that there was one other company that one some sub-area of the licensing (I don't remember what for), and Hasbro immediately purchased the company in order to have more control over the full SW license.
As far as I know, Hasbro has never had to seriously outbid someone for the license. It was originally held by Kenner. Kenner was bought by Tonka and they were purchased by Hasbro at some point (where certain members of their team tranferred and in a rather spiteful move did everything they could to kill G.I.Joe, as I understand it). Galoob also produced Star Wars toys (micro machines) and they too were bought by Hasbro. Decipher got the rights to make a card game (no clue what else was involved). Some time after TPM came out but before AotC came out they lost the license as it was granted to WotC, who was previously purchased by Hasbro (to get ahold of Magic the Gathering). WotC recently opted to not renue the license because they couldn't justify the cost (they were just about down to only selling miniatures and they were about out of characters for that and there was pretty obvious power creep between sets). Given that part of the WotC deal included miniatures, I have to assume that these licenses have a somewhat fluid definition of "figure" and that it is possible that word has come down from Lucas for the various license holders to play relatively nice with one another.
Anyway, my guess is that when Hasbro got the rights, they didn't really consider the appeal of the LEGO Star Wars combination, and figured it probably wasn't worth their time fighting to make sure that LEGO couldn't produce figures. But hey, what do I know? Maybe they really DID fight really hard? I never heard about it if so. But now, LEGO Star Wars is huge-- probably bigger than either Hasbro or LEGO expected. I mean, who would've guessed that a movie franchise where the final film was released in 2005 would still be so actively popular 6 years after the fact?
The point I was making is basically that Hasbro got the rights to produce Star Wars action figures, but there's LEGO producing their own Star Wars figures. To me, that's a pretty clear infringement on Hasbro's rights-- LEGO just gets off on a technicality because they own the "construction toy" rights, and the figures are "constructable", regardless of how little their figures' constructability has had to do with their success. IMHO, LEGO got lucky by being able to produce Star Wars minifigures, and Hasbro got more competition than I think they were expecting.
First, I don't consider them action figures. Second, I am assuming we don't know the exact wording of the contract. I believe it is a very real possibility that a scale is specified in the Hasbro contract. Third, I am continually surprised anyone in charge at Hasbro has the ability to walk and talk at the same time. Fourth, again, we do not know if Lucas is telling everyone to play nice so he gets even more money. Fifth, if there were ground to sue, I believe Lucas would or would threaten it as a means of renegotiating the contracts so LEGO pays him even more to be "granted" the right to also produce action figures.