Bloomberg Business is reporting that insiders close to the matter have come forward indicating that for some months now Hasbro and Mattel have been having talks about merging the two companies. According to the sources, Hasbro has initiated the discussion, perhaps hoping to capitalize on the fact that they've recently won certain Disney licenses previously held by Mattel to pursue the deal while the other company is slightly weakened. So far there's no indication of any formal deals taking place. Could the deal even move forward if agreements were struck? And what would it mean for Transformers? Keep reading.
While the Bloomberg article expresses a certain optimism toward passing antitrust scrutiny if the merger were to take place, the real status of such a thing is much more in the air. Two of the leading toy industry competitors suddenly becoming a single entity may strike some as the beginning of a monopoly situation. Bloomberg seems to be taking this as a measure to try to come together as a stronger entity that can be more of a challenge to Lego, but if that is the true intent it may not be enough to assure the powers that be that this would not ultimately be harmful to consumers and the commercial market place.
This isn't the first time that two companies have danced around merging. In 1996 when the companies were more equal, Mattel tried to launch a purchase of Hasbro, which was fought by whatever means Hasbro could bring against it, eventually leading to the high money offer being pulled back. With Hasbro reported as leading this initiative, it seems unlikely that any of their existing properties would be overtly negatively affected. Should the companies merge and intermingling take place in their product lines, we could see interesting crossover merchandise. Hot Wheels iterations of Transformers characters, for instance. Mattel also currently holds Mega Bloks, and it could be possible that a third try at a Transformers branded building block line could result of this, but benefitting from the superior material quality of Mega Bloks, allowing the concepts of Kre-O to be reborn in a brick brand that already has established market presence. In practice though, there's a good chance that we wouldn't notice any major changes to what we're used to, and the merger would see the majority of business carry on as usual, but with all income flowing to a single pocket to present a more profitable corporation. Any significant changes to products or procedure may be farther down the road of this theoretical situation, to let the dust settle before trying to break new ground.