Consumer Products

Disney’s Frozen warms up to Hasbro over rival Mattel

Hasbro signs on with Disney to acquire licensing rights to Disney Princess and Frozen dolls starting in 2016.
September 25, 2014

In the battle for merchandising Disney Princess and Frozen products, Hasbro has left Mattel out in the cold. Starting in 2016, Hasbro will have global rights (excluding Japan) to make dolls based on popular Disney characters, including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Elsa, star of the hit movie Frozen.

The agreement will further boost Hasbro’s girls division, which last year topped US$1 billion in revenue for the first time in its history, thanks in part to brands like My Little Pony. Hasbro and Disney have partnered before on products for both Star Wars and Marvel superhero properties.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson wrote in his analysis, “We believe Disney, negotiating from a position of strength, likely extracted a princely sum.”

Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, and its success has translated onto store shelves.  Its merchandise outsold that of any other licensed product in Q1 2014, according to The NPD Group. Johnson went on to add in his analysis that the deal was “somewhat of a coup,” and if all goes as planned for Hasbro, it could add 10% to the company’s earnings in 2016.

The good news for Hasbro, however, comes at the expense of rival Mattel. Lagging sales for Barbie and Monster High have led to three straight declines in quarterly revenue, and Mattel recently lost its crown of world’s largest toymaker to Lego. Mattel still has rights to Frozen and Disney Princess dolls until the end of next year, and those properties have been among its best performers. The Disney Princess line is expected to bring in US$600 million to Mattel this year, according to figures from BMO’s Johnson, and US$175 million of that total will derive from Frozen alone.

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