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Mattel has worst day in nearly 20 years after undercutting analysts’ 2019 estimates

Toymaker Mattel had its worst trading day in nearly 20 years on Friday after the company posted weaker-than-expected full-year 2019 guidance during an analyst meeting in New York. Shares of the company finished the day down more than 18 percent.

The company said it expects adjusted EBITDA to be in a range of $350 million to $400 million for 2019, below analysts’ expectations of $551.6 million, according to FactSet data.

The company also expects sales to be flat in 2019 when adjusted for currency.

“Either they are super lowballing or the company is falling apart,” Linda Bolton Weiser, analyst at Davidson, told CNBC.

Shares of the company fell as low as 23 percent on Friday and trading was halted at least twice due to volatility.

Mattel’s forecast comes after the company reported strong sales during the fourth quarter of 2018 last week.

The toymaker has struggled previously with weak sales of iconic brands such as American Girl and Fisher-Price. In recent years, more children have gravitated toward video games and electronics instead of traditional toys. Mattel was also hit hard by the bankruptcy of Toys R Us.

Under CEO Ynon Kreiz, Mattel has embraced a two-pronged strategy aimed at turning around the troubled toymaker. To start, Kreiz has worked to cut $650 million in costs, a combination of laying off 2,200 workers and shuttering its New York office.

Kreiz has also hoped to revive sales by creating a film department to bring its famous toy properties to the big screen. In January, the company announced it had tapped Margot Robbie (“Suicide Squad,” “I, Tonya”) to play Barbie and revealed it would produce a live-action Hot Wheels film. On Friday, the company announced that it would also be producing an American Girl movie.

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