JLK Brand Licensing Signs Dork Diaries
The New York Times bestselling series, Dork Diaries, has appointed JLK Brand Licensing Group as its licensing agent. Published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s books, with more than five million copies in print worldwide, the licensing program will expand the books’ core following through products targeting girls 7–13. The licensing program is expected to include apparel and accessories, stationery and social expression, jewelry and makeup, room décor, apps, and more.
Three more titles are expected to be published over the next 12 months.
Mike the Knight Launches on Nickelodeon
Mike the Knight, a new CG-animated preschool TV series that invites viewers into a fantastical world of castles, missions, dragons, and trolls, will begin airing on Nickelodeon tomorrow, Friday, February 3, at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT. The half-hour, adventure series teaches kids about friendship, loyalty, and determination as they join Mike, a young knight-in-training, on his missions.
Following the series launch, Nickelodeon will air new episodes, Monday, February 6–Thursday, February 9, at 12:00 p.m. ET/PT. Mike the Knight is produced by HIT Entertainment (now a division of Mattel) and Nelvana Studio. The 26-episode series will regularly air weekdays at 12:00 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon.
Hasbro Announces Quarterly Dividend
Hasbro, Inc., announced today that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.36 per common share, an increase of $0.06 per share, or 20 percent, from the previous quarterly dividend of $0.30 per common share. The dividend will be payable on May 15, 2012, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 1, 2012.
“Hasbro’s proven track record of healthy cash generation and effective capital management has enabled us to deliver our third consecutive year of a 20 percent or greater dividend increase,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s president and CEO, in a statement. “The Board of Director’s decision to raise the dividend is indicative of Hasbro’s commitment to creating shareholder value through the execution of our branded-play strategy and returning cash to shareholders.”
Mattel Reports Q4 and 2011 Results; Closes on HIT Deal
Mattel, Inc., reported 2011 fourth quarter and full‐year financial results earlier this week. For the fourth quarter, the company reported net income of $370.6 million, or $1.07 per share, compared to last year’s fourth quarter net income of $325.2 million, or $0.89 per share. For the year, the company reported net income of $768.5 million, or $2.18 per share, compared to last year’s net income of $684.9 million, or $1.86 per share.
For the fourth quarter, net sales were $2.15 billion, a 1 percent increase from $2.12 billion last year, and included an unfavorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point. On a regional basis, fourth quarter gross sales were down 2 percent in the U.S. and were up 5 percent in international markets, which included an unfavorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of 3 percentage points. Operating income for the quarter was $497.5 million, or 23.1 percent of net sales, compared to the prior year of 20.2 percent of net sales.
For the year, net sales were $6.27 billion, a 7 percent increase from $5.86 billion last year, and included a favorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point. On a regional basis, full‐year gross sales were up 3 percent in the U.S. and were up 12 percent in international markets, which included a favorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of 3 percentage points. Operating income for the year was $1.04 billion, or 16.6 percent of net sales, compared to the prior year of 15.4 percent of net sales.
The company’s debt‐to‐total‐capital ratio of 37.4 percent is in line with the company’s capital and investment framework, and its year‐end cash balance was $1.37 billion.
Net cash flows from operating activities were approximately $665 million, an increase of $137 million compared with approximately $528 million in 2010. The increase is primarily driven by improved earnings and the decision not to factor domestic receivables in 2010, partially offset by higher working capital usage. Cash flows used for financing and other activities were approximately $402 million, an increase of $185 million, compared with approximately $217 million in 2010, primarily due to higher debt maturities and share repurchases in 2011, partially offset by higher net proceeds from the issuance of debt.
The company announced that its board of directors declared a first quarter cash dividend of $0.31 per share on the company’s common stock. The dividend will be payable on March 9, 2012, to stockholders of record on February 23, 2012. The dividend is the first of four quarterly dividends the company expects to make this year, reflecting an annualized dividend of $1.24 per share, which represents an increase of $0.32, or 35 percent versus last year’s total dividends of $0.92 per share. For the fourth quarter 2011, the company repurchased four million shares of its common stock at a cost of approximately $112 million and for the year, the company repurchased 20.4 million shares of its common stock at a cost of approximately $536 million.
Mattel Girls & Boys Brands
Fourth quarter worldwide gross sales for the Mattel Girls & Boys Brands business unit were $1.36 billion, up 7 percent versus a year ago. Worldwide gross sales for the Barbie brand were up 6 percent and worldwide gross sales for Other Girls Brands were up 19 percent. Worldwide gross sales for the Wheels business, which includes the Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Tyco R/C brands, were up 5 percent. Worldwide gross sales for the Entertainment business, which includes Radica and Games, were up 3 percent for the quarter.
For the year, worldwide gross sales for the Mattel Girls & Boys Brands business unit were $4.15 billion, or up 13 percent. Worldwide gross sales for the Barbie brand were up 12 percent. Worldwide gross sales for Other Girls Brands were up 27 percent for the year. Worldwide gross sales for the Wheels business, which includes the Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Tyco R/C brands, were up 2 percent. Worldwide gross sales for the Entertainment business, including Radica and Games, were up 16 percent.
Fourth quarter worldwide gross sales for the Fisher‐Price Brands business unit, which includes the Fisher‐Price Core, Fisher‐Price Friends, and Power Wheels brands, were $700.4 million, down 10 percent. For the year, worldwide gross sales for the Fisher‐Price Brands business unit were $2.16 billion, down 3 percent.
American Girl Brands
Fourth quarter gross sales for the American Girl Brands business unit, which offers American Girl-branded products direct to consumers, were $283.9 million, up 4 percent. For the year, gross sales for the American Girl Brands business unit were $510.9 million, up 5 percent.
HIT Deal Complete
In a separate announcement made yesterday, Mattel said that it completed the acquisition of HIT Entertainment from a consortium of funds led by Apax Partners for $680 million in cash. HIT Entertainment is one of the largest independent owners of preschool intellectual property, including Thomas & Friends, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, and Angelina Ballerina. The company previously announced its proposed acquisition of HIT Entertainment on October 24, 2011. Read about Mattel’s plans for the division in the February issue of Toys & Family Entertainment, which will be available February 12 to coincide with the opening of Toy Fair in New York City.