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Mattel, Inc.
Traded as
FoundedJanuary 1945; 75 years ago (1945-01)
Hawthorne, California, U.S.
Headquarters333 Continental Blvd, ,
Key people
  • Ynon Kreiz (Chairman and CEO)
  • Richard Dickson (President and COO)
Production output
  • Animation
  • Films
RevenueIncrease US$ 1.40 billion (September 2019)[1]
Increase US$168.54 million (September 2019)[1]
Increase US$70.60 million (September 2019)[1]
Number of employees
25,800[2] (2018)

Mattel, Inc. is an American multinational toy manufacturing company founded in 1945 with headquarters in El Segundo, California. The products and brands it produces include Fisher-Price, Barbie, Monster High, Ever After High, Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Masters of the Universe, American Girl, and Thomas & Friends. In the early 1980s, Mattel produced video game systems, under its own brands and under license from Nintendo. The company has presence in 40 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 countries.[3] The company operates through three business segments: North America, international, and American Girl.[3] It is the world's second largest toy maker in terms of revenue, after The Lego Group.[4][5] In 2019, it ranked #575 on the Fortune 500 list.[6] On January 17, 2017, Mattel named former Google executive Margo Georgiadis as CEO.[7] Georgiadis stepped down as CEO of Mattel on April 19, 2018. Her last day was on April 26, 2018. Ynon Kreiz is now the new CEO of Mattel.[8]

The name Mattel is a portmanteau of Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler, two of the company's founders.


Mattel logo (1969-2019)

Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler founded Mattel in 1945. The company sold picture frames, and later dollhouse furniture. Matson sold[when?] his share to Handler due to poor health, and Handler's wife Ruth took Matson's role. In 1947, the company had its first hit toy, a ukulele called "Uke-A-Doodle".

The company 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 debuted in 1959, becoming the company's best-selling toy in history. In 1960, Mattel introduced Chatty Cathy, a talking doll revolutionizing the toy industry, which led to pull-string talking dolls and toys flooding the market throughout the 1960s and 1970s.[9] The company went public in 1960, and the New York Stock Exchange listed them in 1963. Mattel also acquired a number of companies during the 1960s (see table).[9] In 1965, the company built on its success with the Chatty Cathy doll to introduce the See 'n Say talking toy, spawning a line of products.[10] They released Hot Wheels to the market on May 18, 1968.[9] In May 1970, Mattel formed a joint venture film production company Radnitz/Mattel Productions with producer Robert B. Radnitz, and later entered a multimillion-dollar partnership with Mehra Entertainment, whose CEO, Dr. Nishpeksh Padmamohan Mehra, is one of Mattel's Inc.'s main directors for Barbie (film series).[11]

Acquisitions Year[9]
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.
Meta frame Corp.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
/Feld Productions
Ice Follies 1979-1982
Holiday on Ice
Western Publishing 1979
International Games 1992[12]
Corgi Toys, Ltd. 1989[13]
Fisher-Price, Inc. 1993
Tyco Toys, Inc. 1997
Pleasant Company 1998[9]
The Learning Company (formerly SoftKey) 1999-2001[9]
HiT Entertainment 2012[14]
Mega Brands 2014[15]
Fuhu 2016

Mattel purchased The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1971 for $40 million from the Feld family, whom Mattel kept as management.[16] Mattel sold the circus corporation by December 1973, despite its profit contributions, as Mattel showed a $29.9 million loss in 1972.[17]

In 1974, an investigation found Mattel guilty of issuing false and misleading financial reports, which lead to the banishing of Elliot and Ruth Handler from their own company.[9]

Post Handlers

Arthur S. Spear, a Mattel vice president, took control of the company in 1975, who returned the company to profitability in 1977. Ruth Handler sold her stock in 1980.[9]

The Mattel Electronics line debuted 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.[18] Mattel Electronics forced Mattel to take a $394 million loss in 1983 and almost filed for bankruptcy.[9]

In 1979, through Feld Productions, Mattel purchased the Holiday on Ice and Ice Follies for $12 million.[19] Also acquired that year was Western Publishing for $120 million in cash and stock.[20] The Felds bought the circus (and related companies) in 1982 for $22.8 million.[21]

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. However, the Master of the Universe action figure line sales dropped, causing a $115 million loss in 1987. 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.[9] In 1991, Mattel moved its headquarters from Hawthorne, California to El Segundo, California.[22]

Mattel entered the game business in 1992 with the purchase of International Games, maker of Uno and Skip-Bo.[12] Mattel purchased Fisher-Price, Inc. in 1993, Tyco Toys, Inc. (owners of the Matchbox and Dinky Toys brands) in 1997, and Pleasant Company (maker of the American Girl brand) in 1998.[9] Mattel purchased The Learning Company (formerly SoftKey) 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.[9]

Mattel earned the first grant for Disney Princess doll licenses in 2000.[23] 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.[24]

In 2000, Mattel signed a deal with Warner Bros to become the master licensee for Harry Potter-branded toys.[25] In 2002, the companies extended their partnership, with Mattel becoming master licensee for Batman, Superman, Justice League and the Looney Tunes toys for all markets except Asia.[26]

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 lead contamination scandal.[27] On August 14, 2007, Mattel recalled over 18 million products. The New York Times closely covered Mattel's multiple recalls.[28][29][30] Many of the products had exceeded the US limits set on surface coatings that contain lead. Surface coatings cannot exceed .06% lead by weight.[30] 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.[31] 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.[31] In 2009, Mattel would pay a $2.9 million fine to the Consumer Products Safety Commission for marketing, importing, and selling non-compliant toys.[32] Mattel was noted for its crisis response by several publications, including PRWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune and Business Management.[33][34][35][36]

In early 2010, HIT Entertainment licensed Thomas & Friends to Mattel for toys.[37] Mattel agreed to purchase HiT Entertainment sans share of PBS Kids Sprout from Apax Partners group in October 2011 for $680 million.[37][14] The purchase was completed on February 1, 2012, and HIT Entertainment became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel,[38] managed under its Fisher-Price unit.[39] In October 2013, Mattel launched its new in-house film studio, Playground Productions.[40]

Fortune Magazine named Mattel one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013, noting only 1,292 positions were full, out of 164,045 job applications during the previous year, as well as more than 1,000 employees had been with the company longer than 15 years.[41]

On February 28, 2014, Mattel acquired Mega Brands.[15] On April 16, 2015, Mattel announced a partnership with invention platform Quirky to crowd-source a number of products.[42]

Mattel added a princess-themed Barbie line in 2010, and the fair and fantasy store-based Ever After High line in 2013. Barbie sales began plummeting in 2012, thus removing focus from the Disney Princess line. Mattel had only sold Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, and 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. Disney Consumer Products also made an attempt to evolve the brand from "damsels" to "heroines." In September 2014, Disney announced Hasbro would be the licensed doll maker for the Disney Princess line starting on January 1, 2016.[23]

In January 2015, board member Christopher Sinclair replaced CEO Bryan Stockton, following with 2/3 of senior executives resigning or receiving lay off.[23] In January 2016, Mattel acquired Fuhu, makers of Nabi tablets and other technology-driven hardware, in a bankruptcy proceeding for a sum worth $21 million.[43] Mattel formed a new division formed over HIT, Playground Productions and the American Girl called Mattel Creations in March 2016.[44] In July 2016, NBCUniversal announced Mattel acquired the license to produce toys based on the Jurassic Park franchise after Hasbro's rights expire in 2017.[45]

On November 10, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hasbro had made a takeover offer for Mattel.[46][47] At the time, Mattel worth was $5 billion, while Hasbro was about $11 billion.[47] On November 15, 2017, Reuters reported that Mattel rejected the offer.[48]

Mattel formed with Chinese internet technology and video game company NetEase in January 2018 a joint venture, Mattel163, a mobile publishing and development studio.[49] The company announced on December 24, 2018 that they lost the DC Comics boy toy license to Spin Master starting in the spring of 2020. With the news, company share reached an 18-year low at $9.25 a share.[50]

Ynon Kreiz was named company Chairman and CEO in April 2018. In June 2018, the company laid off 2,200 employees partially due to Toys R Us' liquidation.[2] Kreiz started reorganizing which included new board directors added that have entertainment backgrounds and a global franchise management group charged with finding new opportunities in existing markets.[51] On September 6, 2018, Mattel announced the launch of a film division, Mattel Films, that will make movies based on the company's toy brands. Mattel's prior incarnation of its film division, Playground Productions, was absorbed into Mattel Creations after its Max Steel movie flopped.[52] On August 31, 2018, Mattel indicated the formation of its global franchise management division head by Janet Hsu as chief franchise management officer. The division's mandate seek out new commercial opportunities plus to bring to together consumer products, content development and distribution, digital gaming, live events and partnerships. Hsu was previously Saban Brands CEO,[53] where Frederic Soulie last worked before being appointed as senior vice president of content distribution and business development in the franchise division in late September 2018.[54] Mattel reorganized Mattel Television in early February 2019.[55]

Arts Music arranged to become the distributor of Mattel's music catalog in May 2020. Art Music planned to make available hundreds of never-before-released songs and new songs for existing properties with first up the digital launch on May 8 of Thomas & Friends' birthday album.[56]

Mattel Television

Mattel Television
Mattel Creations (2016-2019)
FoundedMarch 2016; 4 years ago (2016-03)
Number of locations
3 (2016)
Area served
Key people
  • Adam Bonnett (executive producer)
ProductsTV series
ParentMattel, Inc.
DivisionsAmerican Girl content team
SubsidiariesHIT Entertainment

Mattel Television, is the television production division of Mattel, Inc. The division is head by executive producer Adam Bonnett and consists of HIT Entertainment and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton, Wisconsin.[44] Distribution is to be handled by Mattel franchise management division.[57]


In May 1970, Mattel had teamed up with producer Robert B. Radnitz to form a joint venture film production company, Radnitz/Mattel Productions.[11]Masters of the Universe had a cartoon series back in the 1980s followed by a live action film in 1987.[58]

Mattel agreed to purchase HIT Entertainment sans Sprout from Apax Partners group in October 2011 for $680 million.[37][14] With Lionsgate, Mattel had Barbie brand launched into a series of successful animated direct-to-video movies, which later moved to Universal. Monster High followed Barbie in 2010.[59] Many "American Girl" films were made.[40]


Mattel Creations

Mattel Creations was formed in March 2016 to bring all three of Mattel's content production units, including the American Girl creative team in Middleton, Wisconsin, under its aegis.[44] Mattel chief content officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber was named to head the unit. While, Christopher Keenan was moved up out of HiT Entertainment to be Creations' Senior Vice President of content development & production. Two pacts with DHX Media and 9 Story Media Group were placed into Mattel Creations.[60] The DHX partnership with Mattel included HiT properties (Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam) and direct Mattel properties (Little People and Polly Pocket). The partnership included new multi-platform content development and production and distribution of the new and existing content.[61] 9 Story deal was directly with HiT for 2017 revivals of Barney & Friends and Angelina Ballerina, but as no new information on either revival has been provided since the initial announcement, its unknown when or even if they will ever air.[62]

Mattel Creations and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group had agreed to an exclusive worldwide SVOD rights agreement for the Barbie movie library. This deal started in October 2016 for the next seven years and includes the next two releases, Barbie: Star Light Adventure and Barbie: Video Game Hero.[63]

With Balsam-Schwaber taking the general manager position at Craftsy, Mattel president and chief operating officer Richard Dickson has taken over responsibility for Mattel Creation and was not planning to fill the chief creative officer post.[64] However, between the failure of the Max Steel movie and the announcement of Mattel Films in September 2018, Playground Productions was absorbed into Mattel Creations.[52]


Mattel hired former Disney Channel Worldwide programming executive Adam Bonnett as executive producer and head of a reorganized Mattel Television in early February 2019.[55] On February 15, 2019, Mattel TV announced a slate of 22 animated and live-action TV programs.[65] This division works with the franchise management division's senior vice president of content distribution and business development Frederic Soulie.[57]


Title Year(s) Type Production Unit Production
Distributor Notes
Thomas & Friends: The Great Race
  • May 21, 2016 UK theatrical
  • September 2016 (DVD)
  • early 2017 (TV)
Animated Hit Entertainment
Mattel Creations
ARC Productions National Amusements (UK theatrical)
multiple (TV)
Max Steel August 26, 2016[66] Live action film Playground Productions Dolphin Entertainment
Ingenious Media
Open Road Films[59]
WellieWishers September 8, 2016 2D-animated series Mattel Creations Submarine Studios Amazon Prime Video (US)
Tiny Pop (UK)
2 seasons: 26 episodes x 11 minutes; American Girl doll franchise[60][67]
Dreamtopia June 26, 2016 2D CGI-animated film Snowball Studios
44 minutes[60]
Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef February 12, 2017 CGI-animated film Playground Productions DHX Media Vancouver
  • Cartoon Network (LatAm)
61 minutes, Monster High (film series)[]
The Toy Box April 7, 2017 - November 19, 2017 Reality series Mattel Creations Hudsun Media
ABC (US network)
Electus International[68]
2 seasons[69]
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power November 13, 2018 - May 15, 2020 2D-animated series Mattel Creations DreamWorks Animation Television Netflix

See also


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Further reading

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

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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