Whatever DC action figures hit the shelves at your local retailer in 2019, just know they may be the last ones we ever see from Mattel.
A recent press release from Spin Master didn’t garner much attention when it hit the newswires on Dec. 21. It announced that beginning in Spring 2020, Spin Master will be the new DC toy licensee for the boy’s action category, remote control and robotic vehicles, water toys and games, and puzzles. At first, no one paid much attention due to the holidays and the fact it said “action category,” which, with Spin Master’s usual product lines, conjures images of outdoor activities.
It wasn’t until Bloomberg ran a feature on the news on Dec. 24 that everyone realized this was the ending of Mattel’s master toy license. Apparently, the company will keep the portions of the license for preschool and girls’ toys (i.e. DC Super Hero Girls), but it will lose the right to action figures which will mean an end of the DC Multiverse line.
Mattel’s stock price has been hovering around an 18-year low for some time now, and it went even lower on Christmas Eve. As of this posting, the stock is up in this post-Christmas trading session by 8 cents to $9.34 a share. This is still well within that 18-year low range it has been experiencing. Goldman analyst Michael Ng expects Mattel to aggressively pursue the Marvel and Star Wars licenses that both reside with Hasbro through 2020.
On the other hand, Mattel is struggling. It announced back in July that it was cutting 2,200 jobs in a cost savings move. There have also been numerous rumors that Hasbro has been in talks yet again to acquire the company. With the loss of the DC license, and where the stock is at, we wouldn’t be surprised to see that topic come up once again.
Spin Master is not that well-known as an action figure company, so it’s going to be intriguing to see what it does here. DC has run with multiple licensees for years now, and that is unlikely to change any time soon. All of the non-Mattel figure lines such as Mezco’s One:12 line, or the Hot Toys lines should remain unaffected.