Barbie and Elmo like each other, but regulators could block marriage DTC

December 31, 1996|By KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

Federal antitrust regulators are taking a closer look at the proposed $755 merger of Tyco Toys Inc. of Mount Laurel, N.J., and Mattel Inc., the nation's largest toy company.

The two companies said yesterday that the Federal Trade Commission has asked for additional information about the merger. When it was announced in November, analysts said they did not expect antitrust problems.

Mattel, based in El Segundo, Calif., had 1995 sales of $3.6 billion. Tyco, the country's third-largest toymaker, had 1995 sales of $709 million.

The combined companies would control 19 percent of the U.S. toy market, Mattel has said.

However, executives for the companies are expected to argue that the two companies, with their diverse product lines, would not have a dominant position in any one category of toy.

Mattel's flagship brand is Barbie. The company also makes Hot Wheels, Fisher Price and Disney toys. Tyco, manufacturer of this year's smash Christmas hit, Tickle Me Elmo, also makes Matchbox cars, radio-controlled cars and Sesame Street toys.

The FTC's request for additional information, beyond the antitrust documents already submitted, indicates that the companies will face a tougher review. It also means that the companies must wait an additional 20 days after answering the FTC's questions before completing the merger.

Pub Date: 12/31/96

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