Aerial view of Mattel headquarters
El Segundo, California, U.S.
|Headquarters||El Segundo, California, U.S.|
|Christopher A. Sinclair
(Chairman and CEO)
Number of employees
Mattel, Inc. (//) is an American multinational toy manufacturing company founded in 1945 with headquarters in El Segundo, California. In 2014, it ranked #403 on the Fortune 500 list. The products and brands it produces include Fisher-Price, Barbie dolls, Monster High dolls, Ever After High dolls, Winx Club dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, Masters of the Universe toys, American Girl dolls, board games, and WWE Toys. In the early-1980s, Mattel produced video game systems, under both its own brands and under license from Nintendo. The company has presence in 40 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations. The company operates through three business segments: North America, international, and American Girl. It is the world's largest toy maker in terms of revenue and market capitalization.
Mattel Creations was founded in 1945 by Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler. The company initially sold picture frames, then dollhouse furniture. Matson soon sold his share to Handler due to poor health, and Handler's wife Ruth took over Matson's role. In 1947, the company had its first hit toy, a ukulele called "Uke-A-Doodle". The company was incorporated the next year in California. Mattel became the first year-round sponsor of the Mickey Mouse Club TV series in 1955. The Barbie doll was introduced in 1959, becoming the company's best selling toy ever. In 1960, Mattel introduced Chatty Cathy, a talking doll that revolutionized the toy industry, and a flood of pull-string talking dolls and toys came on the market throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
|Dee & Cee Toy Co. Ltd.||1962|
|Standard Plastic Products, Inc.||1966|
|Hong Kong Industrial Co., Ltd.|
|Precision Moulds, Ltd.|
|Rosebud Dolls Ltd.||1967|
|Monogram Models, Inc.||1968|
|A&A Die Casting Company|
|Ratti Vallensasca, Mebetoys, Ebiex S.A.||1969|
|H&H Plastics Co., Inc.|
The company went public in 1960 and was first listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1963. Mattel also acquired a number of companies during the 1960s (see table). In 1965, the company built on its success with the Chatty Cathy doll to introduce the See 'n Say talking toy which spawned a line of products. Hot Wheels was first released to the market in 1968. In May 1970, Mattel formed a joint venture film production company, Radnitz/Mattel Productions, with producer Robert B. Radnitz.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was purchased by the Mattel company in 1971 for $40 million from the Feld family, who was retained as management. Mattel had placed the circus corporation up for sale despite its profit contributions to Mattel by December 1973 as Mattel showed a $29.9 million loss in 1972.
An investigation in 1974 concluded false and misleading financial reports had been issued, and the Handlers were forced from the company.
Arthur S. Spear, a Mattel vice president was selected to run the company in 1975 and led it back to profitability in 1977. Ruth Handler sold back her stock in 1980.
The Mattel Electronics line was started in 1977 with an all-electronic handheld game. The success of the handheld led to the expansion of the line with game console then the line becoming its own corporation in 1982. Mattel Electronics forced Mattel to take a $394 million loss in 1983 and almost filed for bankruptcy.
In 1979, through Feld Productions, Mattel purchased the Holiday on Ice and Ice Follies for $12 million. Also acquired that year was Western Publishing for $120 million in cash and stock. The Felds bought the circus (and related companies) back in 1982 for $22.8 million.
|Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
|Holiday on Ice|
|Corgi Toys, Ltd.||1989|
|Tyco Toys, Inc.||1997|
|The Learning Company||1999-2000|
New York venture capital firms E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co., and Drexel Burnham Lambert invested a couple hundred million in Mattel in 1984 to help the company survive. But then the Master of the Universe action figure line sales dropped off causing a loss of $115 million in 1987. Chairman John W. Amerman improved the company's financial performance in 1987 by focusing on core brands. Mattel also returned to working with the Disney company in 1988.
Mattel purchased Fisher-Price Inc. in 1993, Tyco Toys, Inc. in 1997, and Pleasant Company (maker of the American Girl brand) in 1998. Mattel purchased The Learning Company in 1999 for $3.5 billion, but sold it in 2000 at a loss. The company had a $430.9 million net loss that year.
Mattel was granted the first Disney Princess doll licenses in 2000. 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. 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.
On August 14, 2007, Mattel recalled over 18 million products. The New York Times closely covered Mattel's multiple recalls. Many of the products had exceeded the US limits set on surface coatings that contain lead. Surface coatings cannot exceed .06% lead by weight. Additional recalls were because it was possible that some toys could pose a danger to children due to the use of strong magnets that could detach. Mattel re-wrote its policy on magnets, finally issuing a recall in August 2007. 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. In 2009, Mattel would pay a $2.9 million fine to the Consumer Products Safety Commission for marketing, importing, and selling non-compliant toys. Mattel was noted for its crisis response by several publications, including PRWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune and Business Management.
In early 2010, HiT Entertainment licensed Thomas & Friends to Mattel for toys. Mattel agreed to purchase HiT Entertainment sans Sprout from Apax Partners group in October 2011 for $680 million. The sale/merger was completed on February 1, 2012, and HIT Entertainment became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, managed under its Fisher-Price unit. In October 2013, Mattel launched its new in-house film studio, Playground Productions.
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.
Mattel adding a Barbie princess-themed line in 2010, and the fair and fantasy store based Ever After High in 2013. Barbie sales started to dropped in 2012 thus moving focus away from Disney Princess line. Mattel was only putting out Princesses Cinderella, Ariel and Belle plus the two Frozen princesses during the last year or so of its license. With these competing lines and an expiration of the brand license at the end of 2015, Disney gave Hasbro a chance to gain the license given their work on Star Wars which led to a Descendants license. DCP was also attempting to evolve the brand from one of them less as damsels and more as heroines. In September 2014, Disney announced that Hasbro would be the licensed doll maker for the Disney Princess line starting on January 1, 2016. In January 2015, CEO Bryan Stockton was replaced by board member, Chris Sinclair. This was followed with 2/3 of senior executives resigning or being laid off.
Mattel formed a new division, Mattel Creations, as an umbrella unit over its creative content units, Playground Productions, Hit Entertainment and the American Girl content creation team, in March 2016.
|Division of a public corporation|
Number of locations
Mattel Creations is the content production division of Mattel, Inc. The division is head by Mattel’s Chief Content Officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber and consists of Playground Productions, Hit Entertainment and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton, Wisconsin.
Mattel agreed to purchase HiT Entertainment sans Sprout from Apax Partners group in October 2011 for $680 million. With Lionsgate, Mattel had Barbie brand launched into a series of successful animated direct-to-homevideo movies, which later moved to Universal. Monster High followed Barbie in 2010. many “American Girl” films were made.
A few properties, Hot Wheels, Max Steel, a Masters of the Universe and a Monster High have been set up at the various studios. For example, Hot Wheels was first at Columbia Pictures with McG attached to direct, but ended up moving to Warner Bros. and Joel Silver. As of 2013, the property was licensed out to Legendary Pictures, with Joe Roth attached to produce. In October 2013, Mattel Playground Productions was launched by Mattel as its new in-house film studio to handle multi-media productions for Mattel's brands.
Mattel Creations was formed in March 2013 bring all three of Mattel content production units under its aegis in March 2016.
|Headquarters||El Segundo, California|
Playground Productions, or fuller Mattel Playground Productions, is a division of Mattel Creation, itself a division of Mattel, Inc. The division was planned to set up three-year storytelling plans that incorporate every part of the Mattel company from toy designers to consumer products and marketing.
In October 2013, Mattel Playground Productions was launched by Mattel as its new in-house film studio to handle multi-media production, films, TV shows, web series, live events and games, for Mattel's brands. The intent was to centralized Mattel's disjointed content productions. Its first animated project is “Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome”. Mattel has under development a live-action Hot Wheels movie at Legendary Entertainment and Universal, a Masters of the Universe and a Barbie movie at Columbia, a Monster High feature with Universal and a Max Steel movie with Dolphin Entertainment. David Voss was appointed as Senior Vice President of Playground Productions, a unit of Mattel Brands. In March 2016, Playground was placed within Mattel Creations along with the other two Mattel content production units.
|Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome||2014||animated||Playground||Mercury Filmworks||digital platforms||
|Max Steel||August 26, 2016||live action film||Playground||Dolphin Entertainment||Open Road Films|
|Monster High||October 6, 2017||live action film||Playground||Dolphin Entertainment||Universal Pictures|
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