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Mattel, Inc. () is an 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 , dolls, dolls, Ever After High dolls, dolls, and Matchbox toys, Masters of the Universe toys, dolls, , and toys. In the early 1980s, Mattel produced video game systems, under both its own brands and under license from . 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. On January 17, 2017 Mattel named Google executive as its next CEO.

The company's name is a of those of Harold "Matt" Matson and , who founded the company in 1945.


History
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 took over Matson's role. In 1947, the company had its first hit toy, a 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 doll was introduced in 1959, becoming the company's best selling toy ever. In 1960, Mattel introduced , 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.
1962
Standard Plastic Products, Inc.1966
Hong Kong Industrial Co., Ltd.
Precision Moulds, 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.
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. 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 and later entered into a multi - million dollar partnership with Mehra Entertainment, whose CEO Dr. Nishpeksh Padmamohan Mehra, works as one of Mattel's Inc.'s main directors for Barbie (film series).Knapp, Dan. (May 21, 1970). " Mattel, Radnitz Join Hands". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California). Page F13.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was purchased by the Mattel company in 1971 for $40 million from the Feld family, who were 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.


Post-Handlers
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 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.

1971-1982
1979-1982
Holiday on Ice
1979
1992(January 23, 1992). INTERNATIONAL GAMES INC. TO BECOME MATTEL SUBSIDIARY. Mattel, Inc. Newswire Association LLC via TheFreeLibrary.com. Retrieved on June 6, 2016.
1989
1993
1997
1998
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 Inc. in 1993, , Inc. (owners of the Matchbox and Dinky Toys brands) 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 doll licenses in 2000. In December 2000, Mattel sued the band Aqua, saying their song "" violated the Barbie trademark and turned Barbie into a sex object, referring to her as a "blonde ." The lawsuit was rejected in 2002.

In 2002, Mattel closed its last factory in the , originally part of the Fisher-Price division, outsourcing production to , 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 toys produced before November 2006, 600,000 and Tanner Playsets, 1 million , Shonen Jump's One Piece and thousands of Batman Manga toys due to exposed . 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 , the Los Angeles Times, Fortune and Business Management.

2012
2014
2016
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.

On February 28, 2014, Mattel acquired . On April 16, 2015, Mattel announced a partnership with invention platform to crowd-source a number of products.

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 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.

In January 2016, it acquired Fuhu, makers of the Nabi tablets and other technology-driven hardwares in a Bankruptcy proceeding for a sum worth $21 million. Mattel formed a new division, Mattel Creations, as an umbrella unit over its creative content units, Playground Productions, HIT Entertainment and the content creation team, in March 2016.

On July 2016, announced that Mattel has acquired the license to produce toys based on the franchise after Hasbro's rights expire in 2017.


Mattel Creations
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 content creation team in Middleton, Wisconsin.


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

Mattel agreed to purchase HIT Entertainment sans Sprout from Apax Partners group in October 2011 for $680 million. With , Mattel had brand launched into a series of successful animated direct-to-video movies, which later moved to Universal. followed Barbie in 2010. many “” films were made.

A few properties, , , a Masters of the Universe and a 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 . 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.


Creations history
Mattel Creations was formed in March 2013 bring all three of Mattel content production units, including the creative team in Middleton, Wisconsin, under its aegis in March 2016. 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 and 9 Story Media Group were placed into Mattel Creations. The DHX partnership with Mattel included Hit properties (Bob the Builder and ) and direct Mattel properties ( and Polly Pocket). The partnership included new multi-platform content development and production and distribution of the new and existing content. 9 Story deal is directly with Hit for 2017 revivals of Barney & Friends and Angelina Ballerina.

Mattel Creations and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group had agreed to a 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.


Playground Productions
Mattel Playground Productions, or commonly 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 Studios, a Masters of the Universe and a Barbie movie at Columbia Pictures, 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.

With WWE in March 2014, Playground launched an online short form series, WWE Slam City, to go along with the toy line. The series was picked up by Nicktoons’ NickSports programming block starting October 22, 2014.

Voss left the division in January 2016 for . In March 2016, Playground was placed within Mattel Creations along with the other two Mattel content production units.


Production
Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of AwesomeJune 7, 2014animatedPlaygroundMercury Filmworks
digital platforms
  • 22-minute origin story (spring)
  • 11 two-minute shorts (summer)
  • 74-minute direct-to-video film (fall)
WWE Slam City stop motionPlaygroundStoopid Buddy Stoodiosdigital platform
Nicktoons (NickSports)
26-episode two-minute shorts series
Ever After High2014Legacy Day animated specialPlayground
True Hearts Day 22-minute webisode special Nickelodeon
Thronecoming TV special 44-minute
fairy tale web series EverAfterHigh.com22 two-minute webisodes
animatedHit Entertainment
Mattel Creations
ARC ProductionsNational Amusements (UK theatrical)
multiple (TV)
Max Steellive action filmPlaygroundDolphin Entertainment
Open Road Films
WellieWishers 2D-animated seriesMattel CreationsSubmarine StudiosAmazon Prime Video (US)
Tiny Pop (UK)
2 seasons: 26 episodes x 11 minutes; doll franchise
DreamtopiaOctober 11, 2016CGI-animated movie 44 minutes, Barbie (film series)
Monster High: Great Scarrier ReefFebruary 12, 2017CGI-animated movie 61 minutes, Monster High (film series)


Upcoming
Barbie live action filmPlaygroundSony Pictures Entertainment.
Monster Highlive action filmPlaygroundUniversal Pictures
Dolphin Entertainment
Fake Empire Productions
Masters of the Universe live action filmPlayground
  • Columbia Pictures
  • Escape Artists
  • Franklin Entertainment


See also
  • 2007 Chinese export recalls
  • , posable 19 inch "fashion model" dolls made by Mattel from 1987 to 1988


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


External links

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