Toy maker Mattel today said it has hired investment bank Credit Suisse First
Boston to help sell its Learning Company unit less than a year after buying
the firm for $3.6 billion.
Chief executive Jill Barad, who stepped down in February after a
troubled three-year tenure, had urged the company to acquire Learning
Company last May.
At the time, Barad saw the deal as a way for Mattel to diversify its product
line. Learning Company makes popular educational and entertainment programs
such as "Sesame Street" and "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"
But instead of expanding its reach, Mattel has watched the interactive
software unit cut into its profits, and the company said today that it has incurred substantial operating losses from the acquisition. From the onset, Mattel
also has had to contend with accounting
problems at Learning Company.
The move comes less than a month after Mattel fired employees at the unit in an
effort to cut more than $100 million in costs.
The unit posted a $183 million loss in the fourth quarter and was closed as
of March 31, the company said.
Mattel added that it does not intend to include any of its Mattel brands in