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U.S. toymaker Hasbro makes new approach to buy Mattel

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Mattel Barbie store

GI Joe and Barbie could be set to shack up within the same company after toy making giant Hasbro made an offer to buy rival Mattel, according to reports.

If a deal were reached, it would create a huge powerhouse in the toy industry, uniting Monopoly, Nerf and My Little Pony brands from Hasbro with Mattel's Hot Wheels and iconic Barbie. The terms of a potential deal could not be learned, the newspaper said.

Combining could be beneficial for both businesses as it would give them more pricing power to negotiate with entertainment studios over TV and movie franchises.

Hasbro's approach to Mattel was made recently, one of the people said. Over two decades ago, Mattel tried to takeover Hasbro with Hasbro rejecting the offer. Hasbro shares rose about 3.3 percent.

Hasbro has an $11 billion market value following its increase of 18% in stock price since the start of 2017.

The September bankruptcy of Toys "R" Us, the biggest USA toy retailer, highlighted the struggles facing the sector, including online competition and children's shifting preference for electronics over traditional toys. Mattel stock fell on that day to its lowest since 2009. What is clear, however, is Mattel's financial struggle.

The two companies have engaged in talks several times over the years including in 1996 and again sometime in late 2015. The company reported a decline in sales after Toys R' Us filed for bankruptcy in September.

If completed that deal would have given Hasbro a much needed direct line to Hollywood with more television shows and movies tied to toy brands.

In 2014, Hasbro held merger discussions with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc, the studio behind "Shrek", but DreamWorks was subsequently bought by Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O).

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