Barbie has a new toy. And Fuhu, the children's tablet-maker that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early December, has a new owner. Mattel bid $21.5 million in a bankruptcy auction this week to win the company which makes the Nabi line of tablets. Both Mattel and Fuhu are based in El Segundo, Calif.
The big toymaker's offer beat the opening bid--and auction floor--of $10 million set by Great White Shark Enterprises, the investment wing of Australian golfer Greg Norman's holding company. GWSE can receive a $250,000 break-up fee according to the auction's rules.
Fuhu declined to comment. Mattel and GWSE did not immediately return requests for comment.
Fuhu, founded in 2008, rose and fell with stunning speed. By 2014, when Inc. recognized Fuhu for the second consecutive year as its fastest growing private U.S. company, the company reported revenues of $195.6 million in 2013--a 158,957 percent uptick from three years prior.
But Fuhu's fortunes reversed in the aftermath of a financial dispute with its supplier, Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, that began in 2014. Foxconn was also an investor in Fuhu and is best known as the manufacturer of Apple's iPhone. Foxconn delivered product late for the 2014 Christmas shopping season, which Fuhu blamed for lower holiday sales that year. Foxconn eventually cut off its supply of Nabi tablets, seeking payment from Fuhu's lenders, so Fuhu was left with too little inventory to fill orders.
According to earlier court documents, Fuhu has between $10 million and $50 million in assets and $100 million to $500 million in liabilities.