Mattel has declined to comment on speculation that it had been in talks with two private equity firms about a potential buyout.
The company has releasesd its first quarter results, which were described as the highest on record for net sales and other key metrics. For the first quarter, Mattel’s net sales were up 19% as reported versus the prior year’s first quarter. Reported operating income was $80m, an increase of $46m. Net sales in the North America segment increased 26% as reported versus last year’s first quarter, driven by growth in Action Figures, Building Sets, Games and Other (including Jurassic World, Lightyear and Mega), Vehicles (including Hot Wheels) Infant, Toddler and Pre-school (including Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends), and Dolls (including Barbie and Polly Pocket).
Net sales in the International segment increased 16% as reported, driven by growth in Vehicles (including Hot Wheels), Dolls (including Barbie and Polly Pocket) and Action Figures, Building Sets, Games and Other (including Jurassic World, Mega and Lightyear). EMEA was the fastest growing region, with a 29% increase driven by growth across all markets, with positive POS.
Mattel announced an adjusted EBITDA of $152m, up 65%, representing an increase of $60m.
Commenting on the results, Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO of Mattel, said: “Mattel achieved its highest first quarter results we have on record for net sales, operating income and EBITDA. Our strong performance continued, with growth across regions, categories and our three power brands. These results are in line with our strategy to grow Mattel’s IP-driven toy business. Having completed our turnaround in 2021, we are firmly in growth mode and operating as an IP-driven, high- performing toy company. Mattel’s supply chain is playing a key role in our success. All of our factories are fully operational, and we are working with our retail partners to ensure product is available on shelves to meet consumer demand. The full-year outlook is strong, we expect to grow market share, and we are reiterating our 2022 guidance and 2023 goals.”
CFO Anthony DiSilvestro added: “Our top-line performance benefited from increased points of distribution, as well as retailers restocking low inventories following the strong holiday season and gearing up to support product launches tied to the upcoming theatrical releases. Looking ahead, we continue to expect to grow net sales in 2022 by 8-10% in constant currency, driven by growth in our leader categories, led by our power brands and American Girl, as well as our Challenger categories. We expect to achieve strong growth in the second quarter and to continue to improve free cash flow, conversion rate and leverage ratio for the full year.”
Prior to the release of the results, there had been widespread reports in the USA, led by a piece in the Wall Street Journal, that Mattel had been in talks with two private equity firms – Apollo Global and L Catterton – about a potential buyout. Mattel declined to comment on the reports on an earnings call held last night. Earlier, The Financial Times had referred to the interest in taking over Mattel as “preliminary” and “unsolicited”, and had suggested that Mattel had not yet made a decision to hire bankers to advise on a possible transaction. The Financial Times concluded that “this indicates any potential deal is in the very early stages and could still fall apart.”