Hasbro are the owners of the My Little Pony brand, as well as many other franchises of great joy, some of which have crossed over with our favorite technicolor horses before.
"Hasbro" as a name is shortened from Hassenfield Brothers, three Jewish brothers named Henry, Hillel and Herman Hassenfeld. Beginning in the 1930s as a humble textile remnants seller, later manufacturer and seller of children's school supplies such as pencils. Sadly, in 1944, Hillel Hassenfeld died. The following year, the remaining brothers filed a trademark for the name Hasbro.
In 1952, Hasbro released Mr. Potato Head, originally created by George Lerner but purchased by Hasbro. So confident Hasbro was in this product that they purchased advertising time for it on a thing called 'television', a rather new concept at the time.
By 1964, the remaining two Hassenfield brothers, Henry and Herman, had passed away. Henry's son, Merrill, was left in charge of the company. Merill saw amazing success when he bought a toy concept created by an inventor named Stanley Weston, a type of doll, or doll-like figure, of a U.S. Military soldier called an "action figure". After their then head of research and development, Donald Levine, named the figure G.I. Joe, after a 1945 film, The Story of G.I Joe. This little toy would cause Hasbro to grow into the largest toy company in the U.S. by 1968, rebranding the company under the name Hasbro Industries.
In 1981, the three person team of Bonnie Zacherle, Charles Muenchinger and Steve D'Aguanno would patent the invention that would soon become My Pretty Pony later that year. The following year, the first wave of 'true' My Little Pony toys were produced, known to by collectors as "Year One". Hasbro would continue to launch new toylines on a roughly yearly basis until 1992, the 'end' of the franchises first generation, thus beginning the generational cycle that has gone on to define the brand ever since. Oh yeah, in 1983, a little known franchise known as The Transformers would launch and would have the occasional crossover with My Little Pony.
Also in the 1980s, Hasbro would begin a strong relationship with Marvel, who would publish their comics, most notably G.I. Joe and The Transformers and produce their animated series, including My Little Pony. This would begin Hasbro's strong emphasis on comic publication, which continues to this very day. Interestingly, the first My Little Pony comics were not published by Marvel, but instead by Fleetway as a European comic series, with art done by Selecciones Ilustradas, a talent agency that employed artists from all over the Spanish speaking world.
In 1984, Hasbro bought out competing toy and game company Milton Bradley, which resulted with the brief rename of the company "Hasbro Bradley, Inc.". Milton Bradley would go on to produce a number of early My Little Pony board games, especially in Europe, where it produced a number of European toys. Other toy brands Hasbro would launch around this time included Robotix, C.O.P.S., Battle Beasts, Inhumanoids, and Jem, the latter would become somewhat of a "sister-brand" to My Little Pony, with the two swapping references to one another. The animated series for a number of these productions were produced by Sunbow Productions, who would create somewhat of a loose 'connected universe' among these shows, sometimes jokingly referred to as the 'Hectorverse' due to the recurring character Hector Ramirez. This was initially intended to include My Little Pony, but the concept was scrapped.
In 1991, Hasbro bought out another former competitor, Tonka, who produced a toyline that rivaled Transformers known as GoBots. Since Tonka owned Kenner, they also acquired the rights to Star Wars. Around this time, Hasbro had restructured many of its subsidiaries to have 'Hasbro' in their names, causing the company to become an international household name.
In 1992, Hasbro would launch the second My Little Pony television show, My Little Pony Tales, animated by AKOM, which when compared to the original show, was a failure and the toyline would go on a 5 year hiatus in the United States, with only scarce releases in Europe. In 1997, Generation 2 was launched, which also resulted in a failure in the U.S., but saw reasonable success in Europe. In 2003, Generation 3 was launched, which in contrast, was a massive success and produced a number of toy releases all the way into the early 2010s, bleeding over slightly with Generation 4, which was a monumental success. In 2021, Generation 4 concluded, with Generation 5 taking over as the dominant generation.
In 2018, Hasbro would partner with Saban Brands to create Power Rangers toys. Later, on May 1, 2018, Hasbro brought the rights to the Power Rangers brand, as well as other Saban brands such as My Pet Monster, Popples, Julius Jr, Luna Petunia, and Treehouse Detectives for an estimated $522 Million. This would, relevant to My Little Pony, result in Power Rangers being among the franchises featured in the My Little Pony Crossover Collection, alongside Transformers and Ghostbusters.
In 2019, Hasbro became an even larger media powerhourse, purchasing Entertainment One, a Canadian media production and distribution firm for $4 billion on , with the acquisition completed on December 30, 2019 of that same year. eOne would soon absorb AllSpark and became Hasbro's media production arm. This would give Hasbro control over the mega-successful Peppa Pig and PJ Mask franchises. Many eOne staff members would go on to work on media produced in the 5th Generation of My Little Pony.
In 2022, many of Hasbro's comic series published by IDW Publishing were concluding due to the publishing house losing the rights. The My Little Pony comics, including My Little Pony (2022) and various Generation 4 spin-offs would remain in publication, however. Of note, many of IDW's Hasbro properties would share a loosely connected universe, usually referred to as the Hasbro Universe' or IDW Universe. My Little Pony would not be apart of this universe, but would share its multiverse with it, as per My Little Pony/Transformers.
Hasbro's interactions with My Little Pony fans have been rather muted, if not mostly negative, when compared to other franchises they own. From 2005 to 2016, Hasbro would sponsor My Little Pony Fair, a My Little Pony fan convention by giving them funding and official merchandise to sell. However, beginning in 2017, Hasbro would stop their sponsoring to instead host the (ultimately failed) HasCon series of events, though the Pony Fair would continue as a fan event.
Hasbro has been known to DMCA various fan productions, such as My Little Pony Online and Them's Fightin' Herds, the latter was eventually rebranded as an original property.
Hasbro has hired a small number of fans in the later years of Generation 4. From the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Lex Heule, Sylvain-Nicholas LeVasseur-Portelance and Adam Bengis have all portrayed minor characters. Similarly, a number of fan artists, such as Andrew Hickinbottom, have produced official My Little Pony merchandise.
Companies in italic are companies Hasbro purchased, though may have since changed owners.