Hasbro has made a bid to acquire its chief rival Mattel, according to people briefed on the discussions, a move that would further consolidate the world’s toy industry.
Hasbro made the takeover approach in recent months, these people said, as Mattel has struggled to revive some of its faded brands. It was unclear whether Hasbro had offered any terms for a deal or whether any further discussions had taken place, said the people, who insisted on anonymity because the talks were private.
The toy world, like the broader retail industry, has been upended by the surge of e-commerce and the intensifying battle to grab the attention of children, who are spending more time playing on tablets and smartphones.
It is not the first time the two toy giants have been involved in a potential takeover. More than two decades ago, Mattel sought to take over Hasbro, but Hasbro rejected that hostile bid, saying the merger would never pass antitrust hurdles. Regulatory issues could also be a factor in any future combination of the two companies, which are the industry’s dominant toymakers.
For much of this year, there has been talk across the toy industry about a possible tie-up between the two companies. Mattel’s stock has fallen 52 percent over the past year, and its market value is now about $5 billion.