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Mattel, Inc.
Type Public company
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
Industry Toys and games
Founded 1945
Founder(s) Harold Matson
Elliot Handler
Headquarters El Segundo, California, US
Key people Bryan G. Stockton
(Chairman and CEO)

Increase US$ 6.34 billion (FY 2013)

Operating income Increase US$ 1.0 billion (FY 2011)[1]
Net income Increase US$ 768 million (FY 2011)[1]
Total assets
  • Decrease US$ 6.439626 billion (2013) [2]
  • Increase US$ 6.526785 billion (2012) [2]
Total equity Decrease US$ 2.6 billion (FY 2011)[1]
Employees 28,000 (December 2011)[1]
Subsidiaries Fisher-Price, HIT Entertainment
Mattel headquarters in El Segundo, California.

Mattel, Inc. /məˈtɛl/ is an American toy manufacturing company founded in 1945 with headquarters in El Segundo, California. In 2008, it ranked #413 on the Fortune 500.[3] The products and brands it produces include Fisher-Price, Barbie dolls, Monster High dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, Masters of the Universe, American Girl dolls, board games, WWE Toys, and early-1980s video game systems.

The company's name is derived from Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler, who founded the company in 1945.


The company was founded in 1945 by Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler. Handler's wife, Ruth Handler, later became president, and she is credited with establishing the Barbie product line for the company in 1959.[citation needed] After the release of the Barbie doll, Mattel revolutionized the toy industry with its talking dolls and toys. After release of the talking Chatty Cathy doll in 1960, See 'N Say toys in 1965, and the introduction of the Hot Wheels line in 1968, it moved Mattel to its position as the number one toymaker in America.[citation needed]

In 1971, Mattel purchased the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus for $40 million from Irvin Feld. The Feld family bought the circus back in 1982.[citation needed]

In 1986, Mattel acquired Hong Kong based Arco Toys, a maker of action figures.[4]

In the late 1980s, Mattel was the PAL manufacturer chosen by Nintendo to make and market the Nintendo Entertainment System. This had followed a failed attempt by Nintendo to enter a similar worldwide deal with Atari. After not securing an agreement with Atari, even later entering into various lawsuits with that company, Nintendo decided instead to take a risk and bring their console to North America on their own, while cutting PAL manufacturing and marketing costs by entering into a deal with Mattel. Mattel had previously made the Intellivision in 1979, and had some experience in the Video Games industry at that time. Nintendo had, in a previous incarnation, also been a toy manufacturer and the two companies believed they had much in common.

After the success of the system in America, this deal was later considered a mistake, in hindsight, by Nintendo, as the Mattel version of the console was outsold in the PAL regions by the main rival, the Sega Master System. Nintendo had misjudged Mattels enthusiasm for the console, which they had not considered a core product.[5]

In May 1999, at the height of the dot-com bubble, Mattel acquired The Learning Company for $3.5 billion in stock[6] or 4.5 times annual sales.[7] The Learning Company had in 1997 accumulated losses of $475 million.[8]

In December 2000, Mattel sued the band Aqua, saying their song "Barbie Girl" violated the Barbie trademark and turned Barbie into a sex object, referring to her as a "blonde bimbo." The lawsuit was rejected in 2002.[9]

In 2002, Mattel closed its last factory in the United States, originally part of the Fisher-Price division, outsourcing production to China which began a chain of events that led to a scandal involving lead contamination.[10]

On August 14, 2007, Mattel recalled over 18 million products. Many of the products had exceeded the US limits set on surface coatings that contain lead. Surface coatings cannot exceed .06% lead by weight.[11] Additional recalls were because it was possible that some toys could pose a danger to children due to the use of strong magnets that may detach. Mattel re-wrote its policy on magnets, finally issuing a recall in August 2007.[12] The recall included 7.1 million Polly Pocket toys produced before November 2006; 600,000 Barbie and Tanner Playsets; 1 million Doggie Daycare; Shonen Jump's One Piece; and thousands of Batman Manga toys due to exposed magnets.[12] In 2009 Mattel would pay a $2.9 million fine to the Consumer Products Safety Commission for marketing, importing, and selling non-compliant toys.[13]

Mattel was named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013, noting that only 1,292 positions were newly filled out of 164,045 job applications during the previous year, as well as the fact that more than 1,000 employees have been with the company longer than 15 years.[14]

On February 28, 2014, Mattel acquired Mega Brands.[15]

Mattel Electronics[edit]


In 1971, a Mattel subsidiary Optigan Corporation released an electronic keyboard instrument based on pre-recorded optical soundtracks - Optigan.

In the early 1980s, Mattel – through its M Network division – released game cartridges for Atari 2600 consoles. In the mid-1980s, Mattel Electronics decided to make its own video game console, the Intellivision. After this failed, the company formed a deal with Nintendo in order to bring the Nintendo Entertainment System to the PAL regions. This was later believed to have been a mistake on Nintendo's part, as their North American success with the console (and its Japanese counterpart, the Famicom) was not replicated in the PAL regions, and they were outsold in these regions by the Sega Master System. This resulted in Nintendo being unhappy with the arrangement with Mattel, and cutting ties with the company. Nintendo released the Gameboy without Mattel's involvement and as a result, it was far more successful than the NES was.


2012, China Labor Watch (CLW) investigated labor conditions and informed the CEO, and responsible for corporate responsibility about the issues. 2013, CLW reminded the Mattel responsibles that Mattels own global manufacturing principles are not respected, and criticized that Kathleen A. Shaver and Bryan Stockton are denying the existence of problems instead of trying to correct them.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mattel 2011 Annual Report, Form 10-K, Filing Date Feb 23, 2012". Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "MATTEL INC /DE/ 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. February 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Fortune 500 List (2008)". Fortune. May 5, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Mattel History timeline". Mattel. 2001. 
  5. ^ "Guru Larry's Retrospective on the regional variations and releases of the European Nintendo Entertainment System". Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  6. ^ "Mattel sells Learning Co. – Buy high, sell low". Los Angeles Business Journal. January 1, 2001. Retrieved July 31, 2008. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Learning from Mattel" (PDF). Tuck School of Business. Retrieved July 31, 2008. 
  8. ^ Dignan, Larry (December 14, 1998). "Mattel/The Learning Co. in $3.8B merger". ZDNet news. Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Barbie loses battle over bimbo image". BBC News. July 25, 2002. Retrieved August 8, 2007. 
  10. ^ "CTV article on recall". Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  11. ^ Story, Louise. "Lead Paint Prompts Mattel to Recall 967,000 Toys". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Mattel to announce toy recall". Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  13. ^ Kavitanz, Parija. "Mattel fined $2.3 million over lead in toys". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Mattel - Best Companies to Work For 2013 - Fortune". 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  15. ^ "Jealous Barbie: Mattel Comes After Lego With Mega Bloks Purchase". Forbes. February 28, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ Response Letter To Mattel: CLW’s investigation of four factories making Mattel toys, 2013-05
  17. ^ Global Manufacturing Principles.

14. Kettelkamp, Sean; Chatty Cathy and Her Talking Friends, Schiffer Publishing (1998)

External links[edit]