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Mattel, Hasbro Gear up for Licensing Expo 2014

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Major U.S. toymakers like Mattel, Inc. (MAT) and Hasbro Inc. (HAS) are set to entertain at the upcoming Licensing Expo 2014. This year’s expo is being held from Jun 17 to 19 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Hasbro will focus on innovative products and entertainment based on its key brands, across multiple entertainment mediums including Film, TV, Digital Shorts, Publishing and Digital Gaming. Toys, apparel, housewares and sporting goods inspired by its popular brands will also be on display.

The spotlight will mostly be on the much awaited Jun 27 release of the feature film Transformers: Age of Extinction from Paramount Pictures. In fact, Hasbro’s Transformers brand and Paramount have teamed up with multiple global promotional companies to promote the film through an array of retail, consumer as well as digital products.

Apart from Transformers, My Little Pony franchise, Littlest Pet shop, Nerf, Play-Doh, Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly will also be showcased by Hasbro. The toymaker has already teamed up with major retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Benetton, Hot Topic, Leader, Ripley’s and St. Jacks for consumer products based on My Little Pony franchise and Littlest Pet shop franchises.

Further, McDonald's Corp. (MCD) will launch toys based on these two franchises through its new Happy Meal program in global markets this year. Additionally, the fast food restaurant will bring back The Monopoly brand to over 20 countries.

Mattel, on the other hand, is trying to script a turnaround after declining sales of its Barbie, Hot Wheels and Matchbox brands affected earnings in the past few quarters. In the Licensing Expo, Mattel will unveil its multiple apparel partnerships inspired by the Barbie brand with Forever 21, Uniqlo Co. Ltd., Primark and Lord & Taylor.

Mattel will also announce new partnerships and product offerings for infants, kids, teens and adults with global programs for its key franchises including Thomas and Friends, Monster High, Ever After High, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price at Las Vegas Expo.

The Licensing Expo, organized by Advanstar Licensing, connects more than 15,000 licensees, manufacturers and retailers with the industry’s most recognized intellectual property and global retailers looking for exclusive partnerships.  

The toy industry is currently witnessing a general decline in demand due to macroeconomic uncertainty and children’s shift toward videogames and personal electronic devices. Therefore, these toymakers will be intent on securing valuable partnership deals with digital gaming firms and movie franchises.

Hasbro currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), while Mattel carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). A better-ranked stock in the same sector is Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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