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Mattel grabs rights to Disney Princess, ‘Frozen’ back from Hasbro

Toy giant Mattel said Wednesday it has wrested back control of the lucrative licenses for Disney Princess and “Frozen” characters from its archrival Hasbro. The deal will allow Barbie owner Mattel to once again develop dolls based on the Disney Princess brand — including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella — as well as the blockbuster “Frozen” franchise. Hasbro had snagged the rights from Mattel in 2016 — a loss that created a $440 million crater on Mattel’s books and a turnstile of new CEOs. The El Segundo, Calif-based company brought in Ynon Kreiz in 2018, who has refocused the company on creating entertainment content around its powerful brands and stanched the financial losses at the company. Winning back Disney “was an important priority, and it’s something we worked hard to win,” Kreiz told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news on Wednesday. Hasbro, which makes Monopoly and Nerf guns, declined to comment on the lost Disney licenses but told the Journal it recently renewed its Star Wars license, which is also owned by Disney, and will soon start making Indiana Jones toys. The Pawtucket, RI-based company’s longtime CEO Brian Goldner — a hard-charging executive who led the company’s sales to eclipse Mattel’s for a time and even mounted an unsuccessful takeover offer for its rival — died of cancer in October. Mattel has become a pandemic darling, outpacing Hasbro’s growth and reaching new sales heights with its best selling brand, Barbie. In the first quarter of 2021 sales of Barbie surged by 87%. The Mattel Disney Princess brands will hit toy shelves starting in 2023, the company said. Mattel shares were up by 7% to $21 early Wednesday.

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