Wham-O Inc., a newly created company based in San Francisco, said Dec. 9 it has acquired the sports toy division of Mattel Inc. and, with it, such high-profile Mattel Sports brands as Frisbee, Hula Hoop and Wham-O.
The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 10 that sources familiar with the deal said Wham-O paid about $20 million for the unit, but none of the principals in the transaction would disclose financial details.
``I can't give you the amount of [the division's] sales,'' said Adam Weiner of New York-based Kekst and Co., a public relations agency representing Charterhouse Group International Inc. in New York, Wham-O's majority owner.
Weiner said he did not know what assets were involved in the deal and referred questions to a prepared statement issued Dec. 9 by the privately held equity investment firm.
The company said in its news release that Wham-O was formed to acquire and invigorate classic toy brands and to promote development of new toy concepts by inventors.
Charterhouse holds a diversified portfolio of industrial and service companies, including cable television, electronic components, hospital management, private correction facilities, waste management, food processing and apparel.
Mattel, which was represented in the unit's divestment by New York investment firm Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. Inc., did not respond to requests for comment by press time. A Gerard Klauer spokesman also declined comment.
El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel said in its annual report earlier this year that for 1997 and beyond it intends to focus on ``those brands which have fundamental play patterns and worldwide appeal.'' The firm, which had 26,000 employees worldwide at the end of 1996, defines its core brands as Barbie fashion dolls and a Fisher-Price line of toys. The principal core brands account for 87 percent of Mattel's gross sales, according to the company. In 1996, the firm reported $3.8 billion in revenues.
Mattel maintains offices and manufacturing facilities in 36 countries. The company generally uses independent offshore contractors to produce noncore products, according to statements on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.