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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Hasbro, Zynga, Mattel, JAKKS Pacific and Vodafone Group

HAS ZNGA MAT JAKK VOD

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – January 7, 2013, 2012 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Hasbro Inc. (HAS - Analyst Report), Zynga, Inc. (ZNGA - Snapshot Report), Mattel Inc. (MAT - Analyst Report), JAKKS Pacific Inc. (JAKK - Analyst Report) and Vodafone Group PLC (VOD - Analyst Report).

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Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Hasbro Partners with Callaway

Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based toy maker Hasbro Inc. (HAS - Analyst Report) has partnered with Callaway Digital Arts to introduce MR. POTATO HEAD Create & Play, a latest interactive application for children.

 

Callaway has created some of the world’s leading apps including The Monster at the End of This Book and Another Monster at the End of This Book.

 

The newly launched touch-based application is the first official MR. POTATO HEAD application available in the market. This latest mobile game has various features such as 3D characters, customized selections and user-controlled animations. It can easily be used in iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

 

Hasbro engages in designing, manufacturing and marketing of games and toys. The company principally provides children's and family leisure time and entertainment products and services. 

 

Hasbro is all set to expand its globally recognized brands through several strategic partnerships. In 2012, the company has launched new line of gaming products in U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada in collaboration with the world’s largest social game developer - Zynga, Inc. (ZNGA - Snapshot Report).

 

Hasbro struck another deal with Volumique, a France-based innovator and provider of technologies, by virtue of which Hasbro attained the rights to deploy Volumique’s proprietary technology and include it in its new line of Hasbro zAPPed Games, based on iconic brands such as BATTLESHIP and MONOPOLY. Hasbro’s management believes that these associations will enhance its coverage in the social gaming arena and restructure its portfolio of gaming products.

 

Hasbro’s wide range of product line, attractive product associations with popular motion pictures as well as steady penetration into the emerging markets are likely to boost its business moving ahead.

 

Hasbro, which competes with Mattel Inc. (MAT - Analyst Report) and JAKKS Pacific Inc. (JAKK - Analyst Report), retains a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold). We currently have a long-term ‘Neutral’ recommendation for Harsco.

 

Vodafone Launches "Nearly New"

 

Vodafone Group PLC (VOD - Analyst Report) has forayed into the second hand handset market with its Nearly New program. The new program targets customers willing to buy smartphones that are barely used and available at discounted prices. This initiative is likely to enhance its smartphone penetration and in turn result in higher data revenues.

 

Currently, Vodafone remains focused on increasing its smartphone penetration, which represents nearly 80% of all sales, and comprises 53% of the customer base. Besides Nearly New, the company has come up with plans like Vodafone Red, which incorporates unlimited voice and SMS, increased roaming services, shared plans, early upgrades, cloud and other value added services.

 

By introducing such plans, the company expects to mitigate competitive threats from big players that are winning over data services. The company launched these plans in Italy, the UK and Spain and targets further expansion in other European countries alongside emerging markets.

 

We believe the prospect of mobile data is better in emerging markets where Vodafone is expanding its presence through partner-market agreements. In September 2012, Vodafone and Zain Group (Kuwait-based telecom company with businesses across the Middle East and North Africa) entered into a multi-country partner market agreement. The deal would enable Vodafone to expand its presence in the Middle East.

 

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