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‘Star Wars’ Fuels Hasbro’s Growth in Fourth Quarter

Hasbro Inc. posted fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates after demand for “Star Wars” and “Jurassic World” merchandise boosted sales.

Earnings rose to $1.39 a share, the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based company said in a statement Monday. Analysts had projected $1.29 on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The toymaker’s results rebounded after sales in the previous quarter missed estimates, hurt by weakening girls brands like My Little Pony and the impact of a strong dollar on overseas revenue. While currency still weighed on results, the debut of the seventh “Star Wars” film in December helped overcome that drag. Marvel and “Jurassic World” toys also lifted sales of Hasbro’s Boys category, which saw a 35 percent sales gain last quarter.

Total revenue rose 13 percent to $1.47 billion in the fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 27. Analysts had projected $1.37 billion. If it weren’t for $128.1 million lost to currency effects, the growth would have been 23 percent. The company also raised its quarterly dividend 11 percent to 51 cents from 46 cents.

The results followed a Bloomberg News report last week that Hasbro and its larger rival Mattel Inc. recently held talks about a possible merger. Hasbro approached Mattel about a potential transaction late last year, and the companies have held on-again-off-again talks about a deal, said people who asked not to be identified as the situation isn’t public.

The company didn’t address a possible merger in the earnings statement.

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