Mattel Inc.

Mattel Inc.

Mattel Inc. is an American multinational toy and entertainment company founded in January 1945 and headquartered in El Segundo, California. The company is present in 35 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 countries. The company operates through three business segments: North America, International, and American Girl.

It is the second largest toy manufacturer in the world after The Lego Group. Two of its historic and most valuable brands, Barbie and Hot Wheels, were respectively named the world's most popular toy property and the best-selling global toy of the year in 2020 and 2021 by The NPD Group, a global research company.

The name of the company is a combination of the names of the two founders of the company; surname Harold Matson and name Elliot Handler.


Origin and early years

Harold "Matt" Matson, Ruth Handler and Elliot Handler founded Mattel as Mattel Creations in January 1945 in a garage in Los Angeles. The company began selling picture frames, and later dollhouse furniture, from the remnants of these frames. Matson sold his share to the Handlers due to ill health the following year, when Handler's wife, Ruth, took over. In 1947, the company had its first hit toy, a ukulele called "Uke-A-Doodle".

The company was incorporated in 1948 in Hawthorne, California. In 1950, Albert K. Carter and Abe Bookman invented the Magic 8-Ball; the toy is now owned by Mattel. Mattel began advertising on television when it became the first sponsor of The Mickey Mouse Club. In 1957, the Fisher-Price corn popper and xylophone were released. Mattel ultimately acquired Fisher-Price on August 20, 1993. The Barbie doll debuted on March 9, 1959 and became the company's best-selling toy in history. In 1960, Mattel introduced Chatty Cathy, a talking doll voiced by June Foray and revolutionized the toy industry, leading talking dolls and stretch toys to fill the market throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 1961, Mattel introduced the Ken doll. The company went public in 1960.

The original Barbie dream house was created in 1962 and was made from cardboard and paper. In 1965, the company, building on its success with the Chatty Cathy doll, introduced the talking See 'n Say toy, spawning a whole line of products. That same year, the Astronaut Barbie was released, the first of many space-themed Barbies. Barbie went to the moon four years before Neil Armstrong. In 1967, Mattel released Major Matt Mason, another toy astronaut.

On May 18, 1968, Hot Wheels was released to the market. Hot Wheels was invented by Mattel's team of inventors, which included a rocket scientist and a car designer. The same year, another doll was released, this time Christy, Barbie's friend and first Black doll, which in the years and decades that followed spawned an endless line of Barbie-dedicated and branded family and friends. In 1969, Mattel rebranded Mattel Creations and Mattel, Inc. - Toy Manufacturers" on simply Mattel and launched the iconic "red sun" logo with Mattel inscription in all capitals for greater recognition. In 1970, Hot Wheels entered into a sponsorship deal with drag racing drivers Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwan. In addition to other marketing activities, the cars of the two racers,

In May 1970, Mattel formed the Radnitz/Mattel Productions film production joint venture with producer Robert B. Radnitz, which began Mattel's venture into entertainment accompanying television's most famous toy commercials.

The Uno card game (now stylized as UNO) was invented by Merle Robbins in 1970 and acquired by Mattel in 1996.

In 1971, Mattel acquired The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from the $40 million Feld family, whom Mattel kept as management. Mattel sold the circus corporation by December 1973, despite its profit contributions, as Mattel posted a $29.9 million loss in 1972.

In 1974, an investigation found Mattel guilty of publishing false and misleading financial statements, which led to the expulsion of Elliot and Ruth Handler from the company they founded.

Post Processors

Arthur C. Speer, then Vice President of Mattel, took control of the company in 1975 and returned the company to profitability within two years. In 1978, the Mattel Children's Foundation was founded. Ruth Handler sold her shares in 1980 and finally parted ways with the company she co-founded.

The Mattel Electronics line debuted in 1977 with an all-electronic handheld game. The success of handheld computers led to the expansion of the line with game consoles, after which in 1982 this line became a separate corporation. Mattel Electronics forced Mattel into a $394 million loss in 1983 and nearly filed for bankruptcy.

In 1979, through Feld Productions, Mattel acquired Holiday on Ice and Ice Follies for $12 million. That same year, Western Publishing was acquired for $120 million in cash and stock. Mattel would later sell the company to Richard A. Bernstein in December 1983.

In 1980, Mattel introduced the first diverse line of Barbie dolls with a Hispanic doll and the first African American Barbie (as opposed to Christy, who was Barbie's friend). Over time, the line will include Barbies from over 40 countries.

In 1982, a line of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figures was released. This line inspired a three-issue comic book miniseries and an animated series.

The Felds bought the circus (and related companies) in 1982 for $22.8 million.

During the early 1980s, Mattel produced video game systems under their own brands and under license from Nintendo.

In 1985, the company launched the Barbie "We Girls Can Do Anything" TV ad campaign to encourage girls to believe in themselves. They also released the CEO/Day-to-Night Barbie to celebrate female CEOs. In 1986, Barbie entered the list of famous personalities drawn by Andy Warhol.

New York Venture Capital EM Warburg, Pincus & Co. and Drexel Burnham Lambert invested a couple hundred million dollars in Mattel in 1984 to help the company survive. However, sales of the Masters of the Universe line of action figures fell, resulting in a loss of $115 million in 1987.

In the late 1980s, John W. Amerman, who had joined Mattel in 1980 as head of its international division, was named the company's new chairman. Chairman John W. Amerman improved the company's financial performance in 1987 by focusing on core brands. From 1987 to 1992, Barbie sales rose from $430 million to almost $1 billion.

Amerman also obtained the licensing rights to Disney's new line of plush toys for babies and preschoolers in 1988. This partnership expanded to allow Mattel to sponsor rides and design and sell toys at three Disney theme parks. Mattel has also negotiated exclusive rights to sell dolls, stuffed animals, and preschool toys based on Disney characters.

Mattel returned to work with Disney the following year. In 1991, Mattel moved its headquarters from Hawthorne to its current site in El Segundo in Los Angeles County.

Uno, Fisher-Price, American Girl, Polly Pocket: 1992–2009

In 1992, Barbie added a new career to her name when Mattel created the first Presidential Barbie. Barbie has run for president seven times since 1992. Mattel released a women's ticket in 2016.

Mattel entered the gaming business in 1992 by purchasing International Games, makers of UNO and Skip-Bo. Over the next decade, the company acquired Fisher-Price, Inc. August 20, 1993 and Tyco Toys, Inc. (owners of the Matchbox and Dinky Toys brands) in 1997. In 1998, Mattel acquired Pleasant Company (creators of the American Girl brand) and Swindon-based English toy manufacturer Bluebird Toys (along with its most prized property, the Polly Pocket). That same year, the first American Girl retail store opened in Chicago.

In 1997, Fisher-Price Little People toys were redesigned to look more like real children with different skin colors, arms and hands were added, and facial, hair, and clothing detail was improved. That same year, Mattel acquired the View-Master and Hot Wheels partnered with NASCAR drivers Kyle Petty and Jack Baldwin. This was the first time NASCAR style cars were produced.

In 1998, Mattel donated $25 million to rebuild UCLA Children's Hospital and the hospital was renamed UCLA Children's Hospital. That same year, Barbie was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame; and the first Thomas & Friends theme park, Thomas Land, opened in Japan's Fujikyu Park.

Mattel acquired The Learning Company (formerly SoftKey) in 1999 for $3.5 billion, but sold it at a loss the following year. The company's net loss that year was $430.9 million.

Mattel received the first grant to license a Disney princess doll in 2000. In December 2000, Mattel sued the Danish-Norwegian Europop band Aqua, alleging that their song "Barbie Girl" infringes on Barbie's trademark and turns Barbie into a sexual object by calling her a "blonde bimbo"; in a lawsuit that was dismissed after two years.

In 2000, Mattel signed an agreement with Warner Bros. to become the primary licensee for Harry Potter-branded toys. Two years later, the companies expanded their partnership and Mattel became the general licensee of Batman, Superman, Justice League and Looney Tunes toys for all markets except Asia.

In 2001, the Twin Mill was created, the first full-size Hot Wheels car. Since then, more than twenty life-sized cars have been created and are part of the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends.

In 2001, American Girl launched the Girl of the Year campaign to raise awareness for dolls with contemporary stories. Each doll is only available for a year.

In 2002, Mattel closed its last plant in the United States, originally part of the Fisher-Price division, moving production to China, starting a chain of events that led to the proliferation of millions of dangerous toys, including those contaminated with lead. On August 14, 2007, Mattel recalled over 18 million items. The New York Times covered numerous reviews in detail. The surfaces of many products had a coating that contained more lead than the US limit of 0.06% by weight. Other toys were recalled because their strong detachable magnets could be dangerous to children. Mattel revised its magnet policy and finally announced a recall in August 2007. The recall included 7.1 million Polly Pocket toys produced through November 2006, 600,000 Barbie and Tanner play sets, 1 million Doggie Daycare, Shonen Jump'. s One Piece and thousands of Batman Manga toys due to exposed magnets. In 2009, Mattel paid a $2.3 million fine to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for marketing, importing, and selling non-compliant toys. Mattel has been known for its response to the crisis by several newspaper outlets including PRWeek, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, and Business Management.

Additional acquisitions and brand portfolio expansion: 2010–2016

On June 11, 2010, Mattel launched the Monster High line of fashion dolls, featuring teenage children of famous monsters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, Cleopatra, Gorgon, Werewolf, and Mummy. This led to popularity and cult after the success, which Mattel turned into two spin-off products, each with a different focus than Monster High; Ever After High in 2013 and Enchantimals four years later. In 2011, Hot Wheels set a new four-wheeled vehicle jump world record for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500. The 332-foot jump beat the previous 301-foot record set in 2009.

In early 2010, HiT Entertainment licensed Thomas & Friends toys to Mattel. Mattel would then agree to acquire HiT Entertainment from Apax Partners on October 24, 2011 for $680 million, not including its stake in the PBS Kids Sprout (now Universal Kids) channel, which would end on February 1, 2012 and be operated by Mattel's Fisher-Price Division. In 2012, Mattel introduced the Ella doll to the Barbie line. The doll is bald and distributed directly through hospitals to children suffering from hair loss due to cancer and other diseases. On October 16, 2013, following reports of strong profitability, Mattel launched its own motion picture studio, Mattel Playground Productions, through which it produces original films, television shows, web series, live events, and games.

Fortune magazine named Mattel one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013, noting that only 1,292 positions were filled out of 164,045 job applications the previous year, and more than 1,000 employees have been with the company for over 15 years. .

On February 28, 2014, Mattel acquired Mega Brands. On April 16, 2015, Mattel announced a partnership with invention platform Quirky to crowdsource a range of products.

Mattel added a line of princess-themed Barbies in 2010. Barbie sales began to plummet in 2012, causing a shift in focus away from the Disney Princess line. Mattel only sold Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and two Frozen princesses (Ana and Elsa) in the final year of the Disney license. With these competing lines and the brand's license expiring at the end of 2015, Disney gave Hasbro a chance to get a license in view of their work on Star Wars, leading to the Descendants license. Disney Consumer Products also made an effort to turn the brand from "girls" to "heroines". In September 2014, Disney announced that Hasbro would become the licensed doll maker for the Disney Princess line starting January 1, 2016.

In January 2015, board member Christopher Sinclair replaced CEO Brian Stockton, after which 2/3 of senior executives resigned or were fired. In February, a new View-Master was announced. Through a partnership with Google Cardboard, the toy has been upgraded to provide a virtual reality viewing experience.

In January 2016, Mattel acquired Fuhu, a maker of Nabi tablets and other high-tech equipment, in bankruptcy proceedings for $21 million. On March 30, 2016, Mattel formed a "senior executive" division called Mattel Creations to centralize the release of multi-platform content. In the process, the production teams and operations of Mattel Playground Productions, HIT Entertainment, and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton, Wisconsin were taken over by Creations the next day. On July 19, 2016, NBCUniversal announced that Mattel had acquired a license to produce toys based on the Jurassic Park franchise following the expiration of Hasbro's rights in 2017.

Failed takeover by Hasbro and Mattel163: 2017–2018

Former Google executive Margo Georgiadis was announced as the company's CEO on January 17, 2017. On November 10, 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hasbro made a takeover bid for Mattel, with Hasbro worth about $11 billion at the time and Mattel $5 billion, but the latter rejected the offer less than a week later, according to Reuters.

On January 29, 2018, Mattel formed a joint venture with Chinese internet technology and video game company NetEase, Mattel163, a mobile publishing and development studio that builds apps based on select Mattel brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Thomas & Friends. That same year, American Girl released "Create Your Own", allowing children to create a doll from scratch and customize everything, including facial features, hair, accessories and clothing, as well as the doll's favorite places and hobbies.

On December 24, 2018, the company announced that as of spring 2020, they had lost their license to DC Comics toys to Spin Master. Following the news, the company's share hit an 18-year low of $9.25 per share.

Company reorganization and expansion of production partnership: 2018 to present

Inon Kreutz was named chairman and CEO of the company on April 26, 2018, replacing outgoing CEO Georgiardis, who became head of Two months later, the company laid off 2,200 employees in part due to the liquidation of Toys "R" Us in the US. Kreitz began a reorganization of Mattel, which included a new board of directors, and added that executives with experience in the entertainment industry and the global franchise management team were fired. looking for new opportunities in existing markets. On September 6, 2018, Mattel announced the opening of a film division, Mattel Films, which will make films/movies based on the company's toy brands. Previous incarnation of Mattel's film division, Mattel Playground Productions,

Hot Wheels also turned 50 in 2018. To celebrate, 16 original diecast Hot Wheels vehicles were recreated and sold in a set.

In September of that year, Thomas & Friends announced an alliance with the United Nations to incorporate some of the organization's sustainability goals into the show's content. This included content about quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and life on earth.

Finally, the Mattel Children's Foundation celebrated the year as the first annual World Play Day. This is a company-wide community initiative to partner with nonprofits and organizations around the world to give kids a day dedicated to the power of play.

On August 30, 2018, Mattel announced the creation of its global franchise management division, which will be led by Janet Hsu as Chief Franchise Management Officer. The division was tasked with seeking new commercial opportunities as well as bringing together consumer products, content development and distribution, digital games, live events, and partnerships. Xu was previously CEO of Saban Brands, where Frederic Souley last worked, before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Content Distribution and Business Development for the Franchise Division on September 28, 2018. On February 5, Mattel reorganized Mattel Creations and renamed it Mattel Television. 2019, which will be led by former programming executive for Disney Channels Worldwide (now under the Disney Television brand) Adam Bonnett. Souli, in turn, "tripled the role".

Mattel released Hot Wheels Monster Trucks in 2019. It included a full line of diecast vehicles and the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live national tour. The company also released "Creatable World", a line of gender-neutral dolls.

Warner Music Group's Arts Music division has agreed to become the distributor of Mattel's music catalog on May 1, 2020. Arts Music planned to make available hundreds of never-before-released songs and new songs for existing intellectual property with an initial digital launch on May 8. Thomas & Friends birthday album, which will be managed by ADA Worldwide under the pseudonym: "Mattel - Arts Music".

On April 5, 2022, Mattel's Board of Directors, led by its CEO Inon Kraitz, appointed the company's chief commercial officer, Steven Totzke, as president of the company along with his original position and, as before, will report to Kraitz.

Media and entertainment enterprises

Mattel has a long history of interacting with the media since its inception advertising its brands' products including Barbie, Monster High and Polly Pocket, but the full-time entertainment venture began in May 1970 when it teamed up with producer Robert B. Radnitz set up a film production joint venture, Radnitz/Mattel Productions. Masters of the Universe and its protagonist He-Man had an animated series that was released between 1983 and 1985, followed by a live-action film in 1987. In 1986, Mattel launched a television syndication group; MTS Entertainment, led by John M. Vince, to distribute the syndicated TV shows Captain Power and Soldiers of the Future.

With flagship brand Mattel Barbie, My Stage launched in 2002 and didn't spend much time tapping into a franchise of DVD-exclusive/straight-to-DVD CGI animated films. Polly Pocket, which was originally founded and designed by Chris Wiggs in 1983 for his daughter Kate as a private toy, and housed in Bluebird Toys since 1989, which Mattel acquired in 1998, has also followed suit.

Along with Lionsgate and its previous incarnations at Artisan Films and Family Home Entertainment, Mattel launched its flagship Barbie brand into a series of successful direct-to-video computer-animated films that crossed over to Universal in late 2006 and as of January 1, 2006. September 2021, jointly operated by Mill Creek Entertainment and NCirlce Entertainment, the latter exclusively for US retailers. Monster High followed Barbie just a few months after its launch in 2010, and many American Girl movies have been made.

Mattel agreed to acquire HiT Entertainment without a stake in Sprout TV (formerly PBS Kids Sprout and now Universal Kids) from Apax Partners on October 25, 2011 for $680 million and closed on February 1, 2012 to become part of its Fisher-. Separation of prices. HiT Entertainment would later be taken over by a newly formed division known as "Mattel Creations", with its intellectual property (IP) brands equally divided between it and Mattel's other then newly formed division, Mattel Films.

On October 16, 2013, after receiving reports of strong profitability, Mattel launched its own film studio, Mattel Playground Productions (abbreviated as Mattel PGP or simply PGP) as its own film studio to produce multimedia content and promote creative storytelling for its employees. brands for global multi-platform distribution.

On March 30, 2016, Mattel formed a "senior executive" division of Mattel Creations to take over Mattel Playground Productions, HiT Entertainment and the American Girl content team in Middleton, Wisconsin and centralize the release of their content. Mattel Playground Productions would later be resurrected on September 6, 2018 and rebranded as Mattel Films (which was and still is widely accepted outside of Mattel) and will deal exclusively with films based on its brands rather than its predecessor. Mattel Creations will reorganize on February 5, 2019 with the hiring of former Disney Channels Worldwide (now Disney Television branded) head of programming Adam Bonnett as division head and will be renamed Mattel Television.