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Mattel has held talks with acquisition companies

Mattel Inc.

MAT -4,70%

have held talks with private equity firms about a potential sale, said people with knowledge of the matter, just a few months after the famous toy company announced that the company’s turnaround was over.

Mattel has held informal talks with companies including Apollo Global Management Inc.

APO -5.96%

and L Catterton, the people said. The talks are at an early stage and may not result in a deal.

If there is one, it would be significant. Mattel had a market value of about $ 8 billion at the close of trading on Tuesday. That would add to a recent series of large leveraged buyouts as private equity firms appear to be spending a mountain of cash they have accumulated.

CEO Ynon Kreiz said in February that Mattel had completed its turnaround and was “now in growth mode.” Mattel reported a sales jump of 19% in 2021, saying profits rose. Yet its stocks have barely shot up over the past year and have done little in the last two decades.

On Mr Kreiz’s watch, sales at the manufacturer of Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price toys have stabilized after years of decline and loss of a key license. The CEO closed down a third of his jobs and closed several factories. As a former TV executive, he also helped repair Mattel’s relationships with retailers and Hollywood studios.

In January, the company said it had won the license to produce toys based on Walt Disney Co.

HAZE -3.48%

The Princess line and its blockbuster “Frozen” franchise, which distorts the properties back from rival Hasbro Inc.

HAVE -1.43%

Hasbro has had its own problems. The maker of Nerf and Monopoly is in the middle of a proxy battle with activist investor Alta Fox Capital Management LLC, which is pushing the company to divest the unit that houses Dungeons & Dragons, called Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming, and seeks to replace board members.

In 2017, Hasbro made a failed takeover bid for its rival.

Mattel is scheduled to report earnings for the first quarter on Wednesday.

Write to Miriam Gottfried at Miriam.Gottfried@wsj.com and Ben Foldy at Ben.Foldy@wsj.com

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