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Hasbro HQ Fight The Latest Chapter In Mass. vs. R.I. Business Rivalry

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo

Competing for the maker of Mr. Potato Head and My Little Pony is fanning the flames of an interstate corporate fight between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

Talks have heated up over the last two years regarding Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Hasbro and where it might put a new headquarters. Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner has admitted the company has spent two years weighing its options, including staying in Pawtucket or moving elsewhere within the state.

But Massachusetts has also made a pitch for the company to head farther north than Providence, and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo isn’t taking the news lightly. 

In a Monday WPRO radio interview, Raimondo said Massachusetts is “aggressively” going after Hasbro, but she said her administration is doing everything it can to keep the company, the Boston Globe reports. Hasbro employs about 1,600 people in Rhode Island.

Goldner told WPRI at the end of last year the company was aiming to consolidate its Rhode Island workforce, split among offices in Pawtucket, East Providence and Providence, in one location while creating an office that could help attract new employees. 

The Massachusetts Office of Business Development confirmed to the Boston Globe earlier this month it was in talks with Hasbro. Raimondo told WPRO Hasbro belongs in Rhode Island since the company was founded there.

The news comes after Virgin Pulse moved its headquarters in late 2017 from Framingham, Massachusetts, to Providence. In return, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker strongly supported a push to relocate the Pawtucket Red Sox Minor League Baseball team — which is Rhode Island's best-known local pro sports team — to Central Massachusetts. 

The team, to be rebranded the Worcester Red Sox, will move to a new stadium in Massachusetts’ second-largest city in 2021.