Last updated

Mattel, Inc.
Traded as
FoundedJanuary 1945;74 years ago (1945-01)
Hawthorne, California, U.S.
Headquarters333 Continental Blvd, [1] , ,
Key people
  • Ynon Kreiz
  • (Chairman and CEO)
  • Richard Dickson
  • (President and COO)
  • Dolls
  • Toys
  • Games
Production output
RevenueDecrease2.svg US$ 1.52 billion (December 2018) [2]
Decrease2.svg US$110.47 million (December 2018) [2]
Increase2.svg US$14.91 million (December 2018) [2]
Number of employees
25,800 [3]  (2018)
Divisions Mattel Films
Mattel Television

Mattel, Inc. ( /məˈtɛl/ ) 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 and Matchbox, Masters of the Universe, American Girl, board games, and WWE. 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. [4] The company operates through three business segments: North America, international, and American Girl. [4] It is the world's second largest toy maker in terms of revenue, after The Lego Group. [5] [6] In 2014, it ranked #403 on the Fortune 500 list. [7] On January 17, 2017, Mattel named former Google executive Margo Georgiadis as CEO. [8] 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. [9]

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Multinational corporation large corporation doing business in many countries

A multinational corporation (MNC) or worldwide enterprise is a corporate organization which owns or controls production of goods or services in at least one country other than its home country. Black's Law Dictionary suggests that a company or group should be considered a multinational corporation if it derives 25% or more of its revenue from out-of-home-country operations. A multinational corporation can also be referred to as a multinational enterprise (MNE), a transnational enterprise (TNE), a transnational corporation (TNC), an international corporation, or a stateless corporation. There are subtle but real differences between these three labels, as well as multinational corporation and worldwide enterprise.

El Segundo, California City in California, United States

El Segundo is a city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. El Segundo, from Spanish, means "The Second" in English. Located on the Santa Monica Bay, it was incorporated on January 18, 1917, and part of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments. The population was 16,654 at the 2010 census, slightly up from 16,033 at the 2000 census.


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

A portmanteau or portmanteau word is a linguistic blend of words, in which parts of multiple words or their phones (sounds) are combined into a new word, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog, or motel, from motor and hotel. In linguistics, a portmanteau is defined as a single morph that represents two or more morphemes.

Elliot Handler was an American inventor, businessman, and co-founder of Mattel. With his wife, he developed some of the biggest-selling toys in American history, including Barbie, Chatty Cathy, Creepy Crawlers, and Hot Wheels.


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".

Ruth Handler American businesswoman

Ruth Marianna Handler was an American businesswoman and inventor. She served as the president of the toy manufacturer Mattel Inc., and is best remembered for having invented the Barbie doll, although the doll's design was created by missile engineer-turned-toy designer Jack Ryan.

Ukulele member of the guitar family

The ukulele is a member of the guitar family of instruments. It generally employs four nylon or gut strings or four courses of strings. Some strings may be paired in courses, giving the instrument a total of six or eight strings.

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. [10]

Barbie fashion doll brand manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc.

Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.

Chatty Cathy was a pull string "talking" doll manufactured by the Mattel toy company from 1959 to 1965. The doll was first released in stores and appeared in television commercials beginning in 1960. Chatty Cathy was on the market for six years and was the second most popular doll of the 1960s after Barbie.

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). [10] 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. [11] They released Hot Wheels to the market on May 18, 1968. [10] 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). [12]

New York Stock Exchange American stock exchange

The New York Stock Exchange is an American stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at US$30.1 trillion as of February 2018. The average daily trading value was approximately US$169 billion in 2013. The NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street and is composed of 21 rooms used for the facilitation of trading. A fifth trading room, located at 30 Broad Street, was closed in February 2007. The main building and the 11 Wall Street building were designated National Historic Landmarks in 1978.

See 'N Say is an educational toy created by the toy company Mattel in 1965 after the success of its talking Chatty Cathy doll.

Hot Wheels brand of die-cast toy cars

Hot Wheels is a brand of die-cast toy cars introduced by American toy maker Mattel in 1968. It was the primary competitor of Matchbox until 1997, when Mattel bought Tyco Toys, then-owner of Matchbox.

Mattel purchased The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1971 for $40 million from the Feld family, whom Mattel kept as management. [13] Mattel sold the circus corporation by December 1973, despite its profit contributions, as Mattel showed a $29.9 million loss in 1972. [14]

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus United States traveling circus company

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, also known as the Ringling Bros. Circus, Ringling Bros. or simply Ringling was an American traveling circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth. It and its predecessor shows ran from 1871 to 2017. Known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, the circus started in 1919 when the Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows. The Ringling brothers had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. following Bailey's death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged in 1919.

In 1974, an investigation found Mattel guilty of issuing false and misleading financial reports, banishing Elliot and Ruth Handler from their own company. [10]

AcquisitionYear [10]
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 Games1992 [15]
Corgi Toys, Ltd.1989 [16]
Fisher-Price, Inc.1993
Tyco Toys, Inc.1997
Pleasant Company1998 [10]
The Learning Company 1999–2001 [10]
HiT Entertainment 2012 [17]
Mega Brands 2014 [18]

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. [10]

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. [19] Mattel Electronics forced Mattel to take a $394 million loss in 1983 and almost filed for bankruptcy. [10]

In 1979, through Feld Productions, Mattel purchased the Holiday on Ice and Ice Follies for $12 million. [20] Also acquired that year was Western Publishing for $120 million in cash and stock. [21] The Felds bought the circus (and related companies) in 1982 for $22.8 million. [22]

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. [10] In 1991, Mattel moved its headquarters from Hawthorne, California to El Segundo, California. [23]

Mattel entered the game business in 1992 with the purchase of International Games, maker of Uno and Skip-Bo. [15] 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. [10] 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. [10]

Mattel earned the first grant for Disney Princess doll licenses in 2000. [24] 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. [25]

In 2000, Mattel signed a deal with Warner Bros to became the master licensee for Harry Potter-branded toys. [26] 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. [27]

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. [28] On August 14, 2007, Mattel recalled over 18 million products. The New York Times closely covered Mattel's multiple recalls. [29] [30] [31] Many of the products had exceeded the US limits set on surface coatings that contain lead. Surface coatings cannot exceed .06% lead by weight. [31] 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. [32] 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. [32] In 2009, Mattel would pay a $2.9 million fine to the Consumer Products Safety Commission for marketing, importing, and selling non-compliant toys. [33] Mattel was noted for its crisis response by several publications, including PRWeek , the Los Angeles Times , Fortune and Business Management. [34] [35] [36] [37]

In early 2010, HIT Entertainment licensed Thomas & Friends to Mattel for toys. [38] Mattel agreed to purchase HiT Entertainment sans share of PBS Kids Sprout from Apax Partners group in October 2011 for $680 million. [38] [17] The sale/merger was completed on February 1, 2012, and HIT Entertainment became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, [39] managed under its Fisher-Price unit. [40] In October 2013, Mattel launched its new in-house film studio, Playground Productions. [41]

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. [42]

On February 28, 2014, Mattel acquired Mega Brands. [18] On April 16, 2015, Mattel announced a partnership with invention platform Quirky to crowd-source a number of products. [43]

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. [24]

In January 2015, board member Christopher Sinclair replaced CEO Bryan Stockton, following with 2/3 of senior executives resigning or receiving lay off. [24] 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. [44] Mattel formed a new division formed from HIT, Playground Productions called Mattel Creations as unit over the American Girl content creation team, in March 2016. [45] On July 2016, NBCUniversal announced Mattel acquired the license to produce toys based on the Jurassic Park franchise after Hasbro's rights expire in 2017. [46]

On November 10, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hasbro, Inc. had made a takeover offer for Mattel, Inc. [47] [48] At the time, Mattel worth was $5 billion, while Hasbro was about $11 billion. [48] On November 15, 2017, Reuters reported that Mattel rejected the offer. [49]

Mattel formed with Chinese internet technology and video game company NetEase in January 2018 a joint venture, Mattel163, a mobile publishing and development studio. [50] 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 a 18-year low at $9.25 a share. [51]

Ynon Kreiz was named company Chairman and CEO in April 2018. In June 2018, the company laid off 2,200 partial due to Toys R Us' liquidation. [3] 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. [52]

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. [53]

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, [54] 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. [55]

Mattel reorganized Mattel Television in early February 2019. [56]

Mattel Television

Mattel Television
Mattel Creations (2016-2019)
Industry Entertainment
FoundedMarch 2016;3 years ago (2016-03)
Number of locations
3 (2016)
Area served
Key people
  • Adam Bonnett (executive producer)
  • Christopher Keenan
  • (SVP & executive producer at Mattel TV)
Products TV series
Parent Mattel, Inc.
Divisions American Girl content team
Subsidiaries HIT Entertainment

Mattel Creations 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. [45] 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. [12] 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. [38] [17] 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. [41]

A few properties, Hot Wheels, Max Steel, Masters of the Universe and 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. [41] [59] 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. [41]

Creations history

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. [45] 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. [53]


Mattel hired former Disney Channel Worldwide programming executive Adam Bonnett as executive producer and head of a reorganized Mattel Television in early February 2019. [56] 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]


TitleYear(s)TypeProduction UnitProduction
Thomas & Friends: The Great Race
  • May 21, 2016 UK theatrical
  • September 2016 (DVD)
  • early 2017 (TV)
AnimatedHit Entertainment
Mattel Creations
ARC ProductionsNational Amusements (UK theatrical)
multiple (TV)
Max Steel August 26, 2016 [66] Live action filmPlayground Productions Dolphin Entertainment
Ingenious Media
Open Road Films [59]
WellieWishers September 8, 20162D-animated seriesMattel CreationsSubmarine StudiosAmazon Prime Video (US)
Tiny Pop (UK)
2 seasons: 26 episodes x 11 minutes; American Girl doll franchise [60] [67]
Dreamtopia June 26, 20162D CGI-animated film
44 minutes [60]
Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef February 12, 2017CGI-animated filmPlayground Productions
DHX Media Vancouver
  • Cartoon Network (LatAm)
61 minutes, Monster High (film series) [ citation needed ]
The Toy Box April 7, 2017November 19, 2017Reality seriesMattel Creations Hudsun Media
ABC (US network)
Electus International [68]
2 seasons [69]

Mattel Films

Mattel Films
Playground Productions (2013-2016)
Industry Entertainment
FoundedSeptember 2018;6 months ago (2018-09)
United States
Area served
Key people
Robbie Brenner (executive producer)
OwnerMattel, Inc.
Number of employees
5 (2019) [70]

Mattel Films (formerly Mattel Playground Productions (PGP), or commonly Playground Productions) is a division of Mattel. As Playground Productions, it was first part of Mattel Global Brands. [71] It was later transferred to Mattel Creations, itself a division of Mattel, Inc. [45] on September 6, 2018, the division was reformed as Mattel Films. [53]

Films history

Playground Productions

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 centralize 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 film at Columbia Pictures, a Monster High feature with Universal and a Max Steel film with Dolphin Entertainment. Playground Productions 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. [41] David Voss was appointed as Senior Vice President of Playground Productions. [41] [59]

Mattel Playground Productions.svg

With WWE in March 2014, Playground launched an online short form series, WWE Slam City, to go along with the toy line. [72] The series was picked up by Nicktoons’ NickSports programming block starting October 22, 2014. [73]

Voss left the division in January 2016 for subscription service, Loot Crate. [60] In March 2016, PGP was placed within Mattel Creations along with the other two Mattel content production units. [45] After failure of the Max Steel movie in 2016, Playground Productions was absorbed into Mattel Creations. [74]

Current formation

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. Robbie Brenner was appointed to head the division as executive producer and will report directly to the CEO. [53] [75] The revived division's first two projects are expect to be Barbie and Masters of the Universe films. [52] In early January 2019, Mattel closed the deal with Margot Robbie to star in the Barbie film and Warner and Robbie's production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, to co-produce the film. [76] Mattel Films and Sony revive Master of the Universe film development in January 2019 with many of the prior attempt's director and producers while bringing on board different writers, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. [77]


TitleYear(s)TypeProduction UnitProduction
Team Hot Wheels June 7, 2014AnimatedPlayground Productions Mercury Filmworks
Titmouse, Inc.
digital platforms
  • 22-minute origin story (spring) [59]
  • 11 two-minute shorts (summer)
  • 74-minute direct-to-video film (fall)
WWE Slam City March 17, 2014Stop motionPlayground Productions [72] Stoopid Buddy Stoodios [73] digital platform [72]
Nicktoons (NickSports) [73]
26-episode two-minute shorts series [72]
Ever After High [78] 2014 Legacy Day animated specialPlayground Productions Netflix
True Hearts Day 22-minute webisode specialNickelodeon
Thronecoming TV special44-minute
Fairy tale web seriesEverAfterHigh.com22 two-minute webisodes
Max Steel August 26, 2016 [79] Live action filmPlayground Productions Dolphin Entertainment
Ingenious Media
Open Road Films [59]
Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef February 12, 2017CGI-animated filmPlayground Productions
DHX Media Vancouver
  • Cartoon Network (LatAm)
61 minutes, Monster High (film series) [ citation needed ]


Barbie May 8, 2020Live-action filmLuckyChap Entertainment Warner Bros. Pictures
Masters of the Universe TBDMattel Films Sony Pictures Releasing
Hot Wheels Warner Bros. Pictures [80]
American Girl [81]
Untitled View-Master filmMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer [82]

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Further reading