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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mattel to Spruce Up PCs With Barbie Doll Theme

LOS ANGELES -- Mattel Inc., the world's largest toymaker, has entered a licensing agreement with computer maker Patriot Computers to begin selling computers for children with Barbie and Hot Wheels themes.

The brightly colored PCs, extending Mattel's most popular toy lines - Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars - come as the company is seeing strong growth in sales of software and CD-ROMs but declines in sales of traditional Barbie dolls.

The silver-colored Barbie computers, with pink and purple floral accents, will include monitors and speakers and come with Barbie accessories such as the Barbie Digital Camera, a flowered Barbie mouse, mousepad and CD holder.

The blue-and-gold Hot Wheels PC will boast the well-known flame logo. Accessories will include a Hot Wheels steering wheel peripheral, mouse, mousepad and CD holder.

"This is the first opportunity for us to take some of our powerful brands and partner with a hardware developer, and it's furthering our goals of making the PC friendly and affordable for families," said Dana Henry, a spokeswoman for Mattel Media, which focuses on entertainment software, video games and CD-ROMs based on Mattel's and other brands.

Mattel has had several rough quarters as sales of Barbie dolls declined, but sales of interactive products such as software and CD-ROMs have been strong.

Mattel also is expected to launch an e-commerce site in the fall. Analysts have said the interactive products would likely drive Mattel's future growth.

The computers will be sold starting in September through Patriot, a privately held direct-to-consumer company based in Toronto, Henry said.

The PCs will sell for $599 apiece, Mattel said. Each will be outfitted with $500 worth of children's software from Mattel and its newly acquired unit, The Learning Co., owner of titles such as the Carmen Sandiego series. Printers will be available at additional cost.

Terms of Mattel's deal with Patriot were not disclosed.

"Children today are embracing technology at a much younger age, and we believe that it is extremely important to make computers accessible and affordable to the mass marketplace," Mattel Media president David Haddad said in a statement.

Each full-sized computer will include a 333-megahertz Intel Celeron processor, 38-centimeter monitor, 56K modem, and Windows 98, Henry said.