Business Irish

Sunday 8 December 2019

Hasbro embraces princess power with Disney deal

Disney’s latest animated blockbuster Frozen
Disney’s latest animated blockbuster Frozen

Matt Townsend and Christopher Palmeri

Toymaker Hasbro is shaking off its reputation as a boys' toy company.

In a major coup, the company known for Transformers and GI Joe merchandising lines announced that it secured the doll license starting in 2016 for Walt Disney's 'Frozen' and Princess brands.

Hasbro won the rights to make Elsa and Cinderella figurines away from larger rival, Mattel.

"We're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue in Disney Princess going away, starting in 2016," said Sean McGowan, an analyst at Needham in New York.

Hasbro had been ceding the doll category to Mattel, which dominated with its own brands like Barbie and American Girl as well as the relationship with Disney. Instead, Hasbro built a girls business by reviving brands it owned, such as My Little Pony. That helped it triple sales from girls toys to more than $1bn (€750m) in a decade.

With this latest deal, it has set its sights squarely on Ken's girlfriend. "We have a true understanding of girls globally and how today's girls want to play," Hasbro chief executive officer Brian Goldner said in a statement.

"The entire Hasbro team is looking forward to providing consumers with inventive new play experiences based on the beloved Disney Princess and 'Frozen' characters and stories."

Hasbro and Disney declined to comment on the length or the finances of the deal.

For Mattel, "there's no question they are popular brands, but our portfolio is still quite strong" with Barbie, Monster High and Ever After High, a spokesman said.

The company will also have 'Frozen' for the next two Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday shopping seasons, which will likely be the height of its popularity, he said.

While Mattel doesn't break out sales from the Disney doll license, Mr McGowan said it may have generated $500m (€375m) in revenue last year and that is likely to increase this year with the continued success of 'Frozen'. (Bloomberg)


Irish Independent

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