This Is the Stock for All Ages

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What do Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Uno have in common? No, I'm not talking about the latest Toy Story movie. But they are all toys and they're all members of the happy Mattel (NYSE: MAT  ) family. And now Mattel is becoming a part of my Motley Portfolio family.

Oh boy! Toys!
In simplest terms, Mattel is a toy company. Along with the aforementioned names, the company also owns the ubiquitous childhood brand Fisher-Price, which gives it additional exposure to popular names such as Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go!, and Sesame Street. Add Toy Story into the mix and I think you get it: The company has a knack for knowing what kids want and what parents want for their kids.

A timeless market and investment
I love the timeless nature of toys. We play with them when we're kids and we buy them for our kids (and grandkids). So there are a number of reasons I think this investment will pay off.

  • Big-time: Sales continue to grow. In fact, world toy sales in 2010 were $83.3 billion, 5% better than in 2009 and 22% better than in 2006. And with brand power like the namesake Mattel, Fisher-Price, and American Girl, to name a few, Mattel is sure to always have a piece of the action. Another recognizable brand in the space is Hasbro (NYSE: HAS  ) . Mattel, though, is about twice as large with better margins and a better balance sheet, so Mattel is for the Motley.
  • It's still growing: There are more children today than ever before, and the population of children is projected to continue to grow larger as time goes on. There are also some very interesting statistics in regard to grandparents. There are about 70 million grandparents in the U.S. today and this number continues to grow. Today, 63% of grandparents shop online and spend about $52 billion on their grandkids annually. Guess what they're buying 'em?
  • More markets: Mattel is the largest international toy business and has a tremendously diverse customer base. More than just a toy company, Mattel is an entertainment company as well, holding alliances with entertainment powerhouses like Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) , Pixar, Warner Bros., DreamWorks (Nasdaq: DWA  ) , WWE, Nickelodeon, and the recently acquired HIT Entertainment.

Back to the toybox

  • The cost of doing business: Mattel has principal manufacturing facilities in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Mexico. As globalization continues, increasing wages may not necessarily pass on to the customer so easily.
  • Peace and goodwill: Goodwill and other intangibles make up almost 20% of Mattel's total assets; goodwill alone is 15.8%. This can happen when companies have powerful brands, though. Hasbro's goodwill and intangibles, for example, make up 23% of total assets. It's something to keep an eye on for sure.
  • Total recall: It's long past now, but back in 2007 Mattel recalled 19 million toys made in China due to health concerns about lead paint and other design issues. Management did a great job getting out in front of the issue, but given their global supply chain, it would be naive to assume this couldn't happen again.

What kind of deal are we getting here?
Mattel is one of those slow growers that I anticipate will occupy a spot in this portfolio for many years. Top-line revenue has grown at close to 3% on an annualized basis. Net income, on the other hand, has grown at better than 9% annualized. Looking out over the next 10 years, I can see shares worth $32 to $34, a bit more than what they're trading for today. Again, the intention is to hold this stock indefinitely, so I'm looking for a fair price to go along with the company's stellar 3.1% dividend yield that we'll pick up along the way.

The timeless bottom line
Remember, you don't have to be a kid to have fun with toys. Instead of playing with the latest Hot Wheels racetrack, I'm going to be a part of the company that builds it. Mattel is an excellent company in a great market, and I suspect this investment will grow nicely over time, so I'm buying $1,000 worth of shares to get in the game.

But what about now?
Sometimes the best companies can take time to grow into their potential. If you're an impatient investor, though, you can try to earn some quick gains by playing earnings season. It's never easy, but it sure is fun. There are plenty of companies out there that investors need to watch during this earnings season. In the Fool's "Fourth-Quarter Earnings Report: 7 Stocks You'll Want to Watch," you'll find information on this quarter's possible big performers. It's completely free for our readers, so click here to access your free report today.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor analyst Jason Moser owns no shares of any companies mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Hasbro, Mattel, DreamWorks Animation SKG, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2012, at 7:39 AM, oyoyoy wrote:

    Have you spoken to any Mattel employees? Those I know are miserable. Hypothetically, assume you do your own research and find that I am correct. What, if any, impact would this have on your Mattel position?

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