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Mattel, Inc.
Public company
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
Industry Toys and games
Founded 1945, El Segundo, California
Founder Harold Matson
Elliot Handler
Ruth Handler
Headquarters El Segundo, California, US
Key people
Christopher A. Sinclair
(Chairman and CEO)
Products plastic dolls, toy race cars, games
  • Increase US$6,484.892 million (2013)[1]
  • US$6,420.881 million (2012)[1]
  • Increase US$1,168.103 million (2013)[1]
  • US$1,021.015 million (2012)[1]
  • Increase US$903.944 million (2013)[1]
  • US$776.464 million (2012)[1]
Total assets
  • Decrease US$6,439.626 million (2013)[2]
  • US$6,526.785 million (2012)[1]
Total equity
  • Increase US$3,251.559 million (2013)[2]
  • US$3,067.044 million (2012)[1]
Number of employees
28,000 (December 2011)[3]
Subsidiaries Fisher-Price
Mega Brands
HIT Entertainment
Mattel Playground Productions

Mattel, Inc. (/məˈtɛl/) 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.[4] The products and brands it produces include Fisher-Price, Barbie dolls, Monster High dolls, Winx Club dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, Masters of the Universe, 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.[5] The company operates through three business segments: North America, international, and American Girl.[5]

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


Mattel Creations was founded in 1945 by Harold "Matt" Matson, Ruth and Elliot Handler. The company initially sold picture frames, then dollhouse furniture. Matson soon sold his share to the Handlers due to poor health. 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.[6] In 1960 Mattel introduced Chatty Cathy , a talking doll that revolutionized the toy industry. The pull string talking mechanism created for Chatty Cathy was used in several later toys such as See 'N Say (introduced in 1965).

Acquisition[6] year
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.
Metaframe Corp.

Mattel went public in 1960 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1963. Mattel acquired a number of companies during the 1960s (see table). Dee & Cee Toy Company Ltd. was a large toymaker in Canada; Standard Plastic Products, Inc. produced all the Barbie doll cases; Rosebud Dolls Ltd. was a British doll manufacturer. Hot Wheels cars and accessories debuted in 1968. In 1974, the Handlers left the company to pursue other interests.

Mattel first sold home video game consoles in the 1980s but took a $394 million loss in 1983 and almost filed for bankruptcy. Chairman John W. Amerman improved the company's financial performance in 1987 by focusing on core brands. Mattel returned to working with the Disney company in 1988.[6]

Mattel purchased Fisher-Price Inc. in 1993, Tyco Toys, Inc. in 1997, and Pleasant Company (maker of the American Girl brand) in 1998.[6] 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.[6]

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.[7]

In 2002, Mattel closed its last factory in the Unitsed 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.[8]

On August 14, 2007, Mattel recalled over 18 million products. The New York Times closely covered Mattel's multiple recalls.[9][10][11] Many of the products had exceeded the US limits set on surface coatings that contain lead. Surface coatings cannot exceed .06% lead by weight.[12] 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.[13] 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.[13] In 2009 Mattel would pay a $2.9 million fine to the Consumer Products Safety Commission for marketing, importing, and selling non-compliant toys.[14] Mattel was noted for its crisis response by several publications, including PRWeek, the Los Angeles Times, FORTUNE Magazine and Business Management.[15][16][17][18]

In early 2010, HiT Entertainment licensed Thomas & Friends to Mattel for toys.[19]

Mattel agreed to purchase HiT Entertainment sans Sprout from Apax Partners group in October 2011 for $680 million.[19][20] The sale/merger was completed on February 1, 2012, and HIT Entertainment became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel,[21] managed under its Fisher-Price unit.[22]

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.[23]

In October 2013, Mattel launched its new in-house film studio, Playground Productions, to handle multi-media production, films, TV shows, web series, live events and games, for Mattel's brands. 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, a Masters of the Universe movie at Columbia, a Monster High feature with Universal and a Max Steel movie with Dolphin Entertainment.[24]

On February 28, 2014, Mattel acquired Mega Brands.[25]

On April 16, 2015, Mattel announced a partnership with invention platform Quirky to crowd-source a number of products.[26][27][28]

Mattel Electronics[edit]

Labor abuse[edit]

In November 2014, China Labor Watch published a report on Mattel supplier factories in China which uncovered labor contract violations, excessive and illegal overtime, poor living conditions, environmental pollution, and other problems. These issues were further investigated by a congressional hearing in December 2014.[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "MATTEL INC /DE/ 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. February 26, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "MATTEL INC /DE/ 2014 Q1 Quarterly Report Form (10-Q)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. April 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mattel 2011 Annual Report, Form 10-K, Filing Date Feb 23, 2012" (PDF). Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Fortune 500 List (2008)". Fortune. May 5, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "Mattel, Inc. Company Profile". MarketLine. November 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Mattel, Inc. History". International Directory of Company Histories. Vol.61. St. James Press (2000). Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Barbie loses battle over bimbo image". BBC News. July 25, 2002. Retrieved August 8, 2007. 
  8. ^ "CTV article on recall". Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  9. ^ Barboza, David; Story, Louise (2007-07-26). "Toymaking in China, Mattel’s Way". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-07-04. 
  10. ^ Story, Louise. "Mattel shifts into crisis mode after quality problems - The New York Times". Retrieved 2015-07-04. 
  11. ^ Story, Louise (2007-08-02). "Lead Paint Prompts Mattel to Recall 967,000 Toys". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-07-04. 
  12. ^ Story, Louise. "Lead Paint Prompts Mattel to Recall 967,000 Toys". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Mattel to announce toy recall". Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  14. ^ Kavitanz, Parija. "Mattel fined $2.3 million over lead in toys". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Mattel tackles crisis with solid comms". Retrieved 2015-07-04. 
  16. ^ Goldman, Abigail; Reckard, E. Scott (August 18, 2007). "Tactics differ for 2 firms in crises". Los Angeles Times (in en-US). ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-07-04. 
  17. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Business Management – Work Hard, Play Hard". Retrieved 2015-07-04. 
  19. ^ a b KELL, JOHN (October 25, 2011). "Mattel to Buy HIT Entertainment". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Barbie maker Mattel to buy Thomas the Tank Engine owner". BBC News. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  21. ^ Szalai, Georg (January 31, 2012). "Mattel's Acquisition of 'Thomas & Friends' Maker HIT Entertainment to Close on Wednesday". Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  22. ^ Welcome to HiT Entertainment. HiT Entertainment. Accessed on October 28, 2013
  23. ^ "Mattel - Best Companies to Work For 2013 - Fortune". 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  24. ^ Graser, Marc (November 5, 2013). "Mattel’s Bold Plan to Take Control Back From Hollywood". Variety. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Jealous Barbie: Mattel Comes After Lego With Mega Bloks Purchase". Forbes. February 28, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Mattel and Quirky Partner to Help Reimagine Play". Mattel News. April 16, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Quirky + Mattel". Quirky News & Announcements. April 16, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Quirky and Mattel join forces to crowdsource the next hit toy". Fortune. April 16, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Working Conditions and Factory Auditing in the Chinese Toy Industry". 
  30. ^ "Barbie, Mickey Mouse, Optimus Prime, Thomas the Tank Engine: Who Else Continues to Exploit Toy Workers?". 


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

External links[edit]