Mattel Reclaims Disney Princess and Frozen Licenses From Hasbro

Mattel announced that it would retake the lucrative Disney Princesses license from rival Hasbro in a reversal of the 2016 decision that led to Mattel losing the license for several years. Mattel will begin producing new Disney Princesses and Frozen toys starting in 2023, ending a seven year saga that had catastrophic consequences for Mattel. The revitalized line of toys and dolls will be overseen by the same group that controls Mattel's Barbie brand, which has made a big comeback in recent years. Financial details between Mattel and Disney were not disclosed. The line will include characters from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Brave, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Tangled, as well as the live-action versions of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella and Mulan, and the Disney Plus Moana and Tiana shows.   

Although Hasbro is the larger toy company, Mattel is known as the market's premiere doll manufacturer and the loss of the Disney Princesses and Frozen lines were seen as a major blow to the company. In addition to losing an estimated $400 million in revenue after losing the Disney licenses, Mattel went through a period of active turnover as it tried to right the course after Disney swapped companies. After going through four CEOs, Mattel has stabilized under current head Ynon Kreiz and rebuilt its key brands, including Barbie, in part through a reorganization that sees its business lines defined by types of toys instead of by key audiences. 

Although this is seen as a major win for Mattel, the loss of the Disney licenses aren't seen as a major loss for Hasbro. While Hasbro produced a wide line of toys under the Disney Princesses and Frozen umbrella, the line was not as lucrative as hoped for the larger toy manufacturer. Unlike the Star Wars or upcoming Indiana Jones licenses that Hasbro retained, there's not a regular stream of movie and TV content being released for Frozen and the Disney Princesses to fuel additional interest in those brands. And because Hasbro isn't primarily known as a manufacturer of dolls, the loss of the Disney Princesses line isn't seen as big as a loss for the company as it did when Mattel lost the line. Hasbro also has several other lines of toys themed towards young girls, such as My Little Pony, to mitigate some of the potential loss of business.