Hasbro reportedly offered to buy Mattel

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A merger of this size wouldn't be child's play but could be beneficial for both companies

Hasbro Inc has made an approach to acquire rival Mattel Inc, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday, making it the latest attempt to combine the two biggest United States toymakers in over two decades.

Shares of Mattel, which makes Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels, dropped 47 percent this year, while stocks for Hasbro rose nearly 18 percent.

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The stance by Mattel toward Hasbro related to this approach is not known and it remains far from being certain a deal will eventually materialize, said the source, who asked to remain anonymous since the matter was confidential. The terms of any possible deal couldn't be learned, and the approach may go nowhere. Over two decades ago, Mattel tried to takeover Hasbro with Hasbro rejecting the offer.

Both toymakers have been struggling with waning demand and the recent bankruptcy of Toys'R'Us, a major outlet for toy sales.

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Hasbro's strategy of using entertainment assets to fuel toy sales has paid off richly - the company's market cap is $11.4 billion, more than twice that of El Segundo, CA-based Mattel. Last month the company suspended its dividend and warned it would miss forecasts for revenue this year. Mattel's shares have slumped 47 percent this year, valuing the company at $4.8 billion and making it more vulnerable as a takeover target. Mattel stock fell on that day to its lowest since 2009.

Hasbro and Mattel have had talks several times over the years, including in 1996 and again sometime in late 2015. And it maintains a strong relationship with Hollywood - Hasbro also makes toys for successful Disney franchises.

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In 2014, Hasbro held merger discussions with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc, the studio behind "Shrek", but DreamWorks was subsequently bought by Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O).

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