Mattel Inc. and Jakks Pacific Wednesday announced new deals to make wrestling action figures, the latest chapter in a story that has all the acrimony and shifting alliances of professional wrestling.
Mattel has teamed up with World Wrestling Entertainment to make toys based on its popular wrestlers, and Jakks is matching up with WWE rival TNA Entertainment.
Both deals – which take effect in 2010 – are for five years. The companies, which expect the first products to come to market in 2010, did not disclose financial terms.
Jakks holds the license to make WWE toys through next year, but its contract with the company will not be renewed after the partnership soured.
A U.S. federal court in December dismissed WWE's lawsuit against Jakks, which accused the toy maker of bribery to win a lucrative licensing deal based on wrestling superstars.
"By the time 2010 arrives, TNA should be able to increase its market share even more significantly," Jakks Chief Executive Jack Friedman said in a statement.
Mattel is adding the wrestling line to a stable of well-known brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels and the T.M.X Elmo.
Despite last year's recall of millions of Mattel toys made in China due to safety concerns and lead paint, WWE was "comfortable" with Mattel's response to the problem, said Donna Goldsmith, WWE's executive vice president of consumer products.
"Mattel had some issues this summer that they have rectified through a number of policies and procedures and they took us through that," Goldsmith said in an interview.
Mattel, the largest U.S. toy maker, will make WWE-themed action figures, games and puzzles, plush toys and remote- controlled vehicles.