Mattel rejects another merger bid from MGA Entertainment

Published on: 12th June 2019

Isaac Larian has said he is “looking at other options” after his unsolicited offer was rejected.

Isaac Larian, founder and chief executive of MGA, confirmed yesterday that he had renewed his offer to merge the companies, having made his initial approach a year ago. Once again, Isaac did not propose a specific price for publicly held Mattel, suggesting that an investment banker or other outside party could help determine an appropriate figure. But he confirmed that any purchase price would be at a premium to Mattel’s current market price.

A letter sent to Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz, which Isaac has posted on LinkedIn, cited the company’s rising debt and tumbling share price as an impetus for a deal. However, Mattel has said that its turnaround is taking shape thanks to a widened marketing of its core toy brands — especially in the entertainment and digital fields — and to a $650-million cost-cutting plan.

MGA’s latest offer was conditional on Isaac Larian becoming Mattel’s chairman and CEO, and on all of Mattel’s current directors “resigning without any further compensation,” which made it extremely unlikely that it would be accepted.

In response to the letter, Mattel’s chief legal officer, Bob Normile, wrote to Isaac Larian last Friday, confirming that Mattel’s board had “unanimously concluded that your proposal is not in the best interests of Mattel and its shareholders” and that the directors had no interest in further discussions. According to several media sources, Mattel said yesterday that it had no further comment to make on the subject.

Isaac Larian told Bloomberg: “I try to do things in a peaceful manner, very confidentially, and you saw what the response was, so there are other options available to take over a company for the sake of shareholders, and we are looking into different ways.” Isaac is known to be a Mattel shareholder but has declined to specify his stake. He also declined to elaborate on what his next steps are in his bid. “I’m looking at other options, frankly, because I don’t think the board is looking to do what’s right for Mattel shareholders.”

Mattel’s shares rose as much as 12% after the close of regular trading on Tuesday in New York.


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