The Wall Street Journal reported that the world’s third largest toy maker, Hasbro has made a bid to take over Mattel. The report doesn’t state much in terms of the financials or how far along the companies are in their discussions. A potential combination would unite the two biggest U.S. toy makers and put the likes of My Little Pony and G.I. Joe under the same roof.
Based in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel is the maker of Barbie dolls, American Girl dolls, Fisher-Price, Matchbox, Hot Wheels & WWE toys. Hasbro, which is based in Pawtucket, R.I., is comprised of brands including Monopoly, G.I. Joe, Furby, Transformers, Nerf and My Little Pony.
Mattel has struggled with losses and weak sales, forcing it to suspend its dividend and outline plans to slash costs and scale back new product launches. Hasbro is not without its own woes, both companies were impacted by the news of Toys “R” Us filing for bankruptcy. “It threw a major sales channel into turmoil and prompted them to stall deliveries to the retailer.”
Hasbro has a market value of $11B while Mattel’s is around $5B. The big difference in the two organization is Hasbro’s push to strike licensing deals with Hollywood powerhouses for television and movie franchises such as Disney ’s “Frozen” and “Star Wars”. The results have outperformed those of Mattel’s.
Mattel has tried to overcome their lacking toy sales by getting exclusives by primarily being the distributor of ABC’s The Toy Box. The show is a reality competition which “depicts aspiring entrepreneur-contestants as they present toy inventions first to a panel of toy industry professionals, then to a panel of children.” The winner gets their toy sold at Toy R’ Us stores nationwide.
Hasbro also doesn’t license its brands to Hollywood studios unlike Mattel, choosing instead to participate in the development, writing and marketing processes. Hasbro has its own production studio creating original television programming and live action films including The Transformers and G.I. Joe Franchise. The Transformers franchise has earned some $3.8 billion worldwide, while the G.I. Joe franchise brought in some $675 million
Mattel produces mainly animated films with a lot of them dealing with their Barbie, Monster High & Winx Club brands. Looking to find the same success that Hasbro has with live adaptions, Mattel released Max Steel (2016) based the action figure line of the same name through Open Road Films. The film performed poorly only generating $6 million against a $10 million production budget and currently has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
On December 2, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Amy Schumer had been cast as Barbie in a live adaption. In March 17, it was announced that Schumer had withdrawn from the project. It was later announced in August that that Anne Hathaway would star as the titular character. The film is set for a June 29, 2018 release in the United States.