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Mattel (MAT)

Company Profile : El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel designs, manufactures and markets a variety of toy products worldwide through sales to its customers and directly to consumers.

Mattel announced a 10.8% increase to its annualized dividend, intending to pay investors 92 cents this year, up 9 cents per share from its annualized dividend of 83 cents last year.

The toymaker's next shareholder payout will be a quarterly dividend of 23 cents per share, payable on March 11 to holders of record on Feb. 24, bringing its yield to around 3.6%.

Mattel beat fourth-quarter expectations and said improved sales in its core toy brands -- Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and American Girl -- helped drive the quarter's results. Mattel booked net profits of $325.2 million, or 89 cents per share, down slightly from year-earlier earnings of $328.4 million, or 89 cents per share.

Quarterly revenue increased by 8.2% to $2.12 billion, getting a boost from the holiday shopping season. The top-line figure included a 2% unfavorable impact from foreign currency exchange rates.

Mattel sought a mistrial this week in its ongoing battle with privately-held MGA Entertainment over who owns the rights to the Bratz line of dolls.

Mattel asked the judge for a mistrial based on comments made by MGA CEO Isaac Larian, who said that Mattel's stress-inducing actions led to his father's death and destroyed his family. Mattel wants the remarks declared false to the jury, or a mistrial be affirmed.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter said Mattel should refile the motion with supplemental information.

The trial, which began Jan. 18, alleges that Bratz designer Carter Bryant conceived of the Bratz doll idea while working at Mattel, and later implemented it when working for MGA.

MGA's Bratz, which debuted in 2001, has sold $3.3 billion worth of products, generating $292 million in profits. Barbie profits, meanwhile, declined by $393 million .

A federal jury awarded Mattel $100 million two years ago, finding that Bryant did develop the Bratz idea while working for Mattel, but the verdict was overturned and the case sent back for a retrial.
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