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Mattel, Inc. (or simply referred to as Mattel) is an American multinational toy manufacturing and entertainment company founded in January, 1945 and headquartered in El Segundo, California. The company has presence in thirty-five countries and territories and sells products in more than one hundred fifty countries.[3]

Mattel was originally founded in January 1945 by Ruth Handler, Elliot Handler and Harold Matson as "Mattel Creations". The name Mattel is a blend of the names of the "Matt" nickname of Harold Matson and "El" in Elliot Handler, two of the company's founders. The company established itself as a leader in the toy industry and later diversified into diving into media and entertainment.

The company is one of the best-known toy manufacturing companies worldwide. Throughout the company's founding, it has acquired a significant amount of companies and properties, with one of them most notably being HIT Entertainment,[4] a British-American entertainment company that produced children's entertainment and owned the Barney franchise.

Barney in front of of a screen projection with the Mattel logo.

History

Barney

License

In February 2001, at the same time as Lyrick Studios was being acquired by HIT Entertainment, HIT had signed a licensing deal with Mattel.[5] It was confirmed on February 23, 2001 that Fisher-Price, the subsidiary of Mattel, had an exclusive worldwide toy licensing deal to make and distribute Barney toys.[6] The the initial toys were released in early 2002.[7]

The line continued to be released in the US and Canada until 2004 and in the UK until 2005. Outside the UK, the US, and Canada, Fisher-Price continued to produce Barney toys all the way up until the late 2000s. Fisher-Price wouldn't release any further Barney toys until 2018.

Acquisition

Owners of HIT Entertainment, Apax Partners, agreed to sell HIT Entertainment to Mattel, Inc on October 24, 2011 for $680 million.[8] Its share of Sprout was not included in the deal.[9] The sale/merger was completed on February 1, 2012,[10] and HIT Entertainment became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, managed under its Fisher-Price unit.[11][12] Due to the success of the Thomas brand, which accounted for 80% of HIT’s revenues, there was talks of Mattel only wanting to purchase that franchise rather than the entire HIT library.[13] Mattel had already worked alongside Hit Entertainment and handled marketing for Thomas & Friends toys.[14] On July 3, 2012, It was reported that Mattel considered selling and seeked a buyer for the assets of Barney (alongside Angelina Ballerina).[15] They eventually decided to keep those brands.

Media

Revival

On October 6, 2015, 9 Story Media Group announced a long-term partnership with HIT Entertainment, the now subsidiary of Mattel, to distribute preschool series Barney & Friends and Angelina Ballerina, as well as as relaunching both properties for a reboot that was slated to debut in 2017 with fifty-two eleven minute episodes (for both properties).[16] Production never occurred for either one of the properties. During Mattel's 2021 Virtual Analyst Day Presentation on February 24, 2021, Barney was included to be a "new series in development" by Mattel Television.[17]

Film

On October 18, 2019, Mattel Films, a division of Mattel, announced they were teaming up with Daniel Kaluuya's 59% company and Valparaiso Pictures in order to create a new Barney film.[18]

Music

On April 10, 2020, Barney albums that were under HIT Entertainment and Koch Records were transferred to Arts Music. The announcement was made on May 1, 2020 that toy manufacturing giant Mattel, Inc. signed an exclusive, multi-year global music licensing deal with Warner Music Group's Arts Music division, which became the sole distributor of Mattel's catalog of more than 1,000 songs from brands like Barbie, Thomas & Friends, Hot Wheels, American Girl, Fisher Price and Barney.[19]

See Also

References

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