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Following current trends of corporate consolidation — think airlines and media companies — Hasbro's offer to Mattel shouldn't seem like too much of a surprise. However, many people were taken aback by the approach from three days ago.

This surprise is apparent in the fact that Mattel stock jumped 20% while Hasbro jumped 8% — investors are pretty happy that this deal is going down. But why might this be?

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Nov. 10 that a potential deal is in the works. This could be due to the fact that Mattel's shares have dropped 47% this year while Hasbro's stock prices have increased 18%.

If the two companies should combine, their shared market price would be around $16 billion. With this strong of a company value, there are many benefits that come with the impending consolidation.

Competition with electronics and tech

Customers walk towards a branch of the toy store Toys R Us on September 19, 2017 in Luton, England. Getty Images

This report is following the fact that Toys'R'Us has recently been bankrupted — as of now, the company owes Mattel at least $135 million which contributed to its drop in shares.

Traditional toys don't have that much appeal in the age of tablets and VR. Hasbro could be attempting to get ahead of the curve of electronics and technology by consolidating.

E-commerce

A worker prepares packages for delivery at an Amazon warehouse on September 4, 2014 in Brieselang, Germany.Getty Images

Another electronic aspect of competition may be from Amazon.com, Inc — Amazon is so popular in the current market, especially with their Prime option. Perhaps Hasbro will also expand more into e-commerce too.

Competition with other companies

A worker arranges a shelf of Hasbro Inc. Nerf Blaster products at a Target Corp. location in Emeryville, California, U.S., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.Getty Images

Traditionally, Hasbro has made over 80 brands of toys such as My Little Pony, Nerf, Transformers, Play-Doh, Littlest Pet Shop and Monopoly, with rights to "Star Wars." If you were an '80's kid, you've probably played with these toys.

Mattel has around 20 brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and the coveted American Girl dolls — also brand deals with Disney, giving them an edge over the animated market.

With this takeover, Hasbro can focus on extending its influence rather than getting ahead of their competition.

Shelf space

Lego enthusiasts attend the Bricklive at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center on July 20, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.Getty Images

Hasbro also probably wants more shelf space — currently, Lego controls most of the market's shelf space. If the deal goes through, Hasbro can cut out one of its major competitors for this exclusive real estate.

Why this could be disastrous

Going back to what this really is — corporate consolidation — could be dangerous to small businesses. Big companies have been demolishing small businesses — a prime example being Luxottica separating from Oakley sunglasses due to pricing. Oakley's stock prices thus collapsed.

Corporate consolidation also tricks you into thinking that small businesses are independent when they aren't really — especially with companies such as Tom's of Maine and Burt's Bees. Instead, they're both owned by large corporations.

Hasbro and Mattel's merging could thus continue this pattern of big corporations crushing small businesses.

However, this deal might not even go through — Hasbro has approached Lions Gate Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation SKG and Mattel twice before, with no success.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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