U.S. toymakers Mattel Inc (MAT.O) and Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) have held talks about a possible merger, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Mattel's shares rose as much as 8.2 percent to a 16-month high of $34.36, before easing to trade up 1.6 percent in late afternoon trading. Hasbro was up 1.3 percent.
Mattel makes Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars, while Hasbro makes Disney Princess dolls and action figures based on Star Wars among other franchises. The companies had a combined market capitalization of more than $20 billion as of Wednesday's close.
Hasbro approached Mattel about a potential transaction late last year, and the companies have held talks about a deal since then, Bloomberg said citing the people.
The talks may not lead to a deal, Bloomberg reported, adding that details on how a deal might be structured could not be immediately learned.
Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duff and Mattel spokesman Alex Clark said the companies do not comment on rumors or market speculation.
This is not the first time the companies have held merger talks. In 1996, Mattel had offered to buy Hasbro for about $5.2 billion, but withdrew the offer, citing an intolerable climate at the time.
In recent years, the companies have vied for lucrative contracts.
Hasbro won a license to make Walt Disney Co's (DIS.N) Disney Princess dolls, including those based on the hit movie "Frozen".
Mattel on Monday reported a surprise rise in holiday-quarter sales, its first increase in over two years, boosted in part by recovering sales at its 56-year old Barbie brand.
Hasbro is scheduled to report its holiday-quarter results on Monday.
(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)