TV Producer HIT Entertainment, the makers of Thomas the Tank Engine, Barney and Bob the Builder, being bought by Mattel, US Toy Company, according to AdWeek for $680 million. This deal will give Mattel the rights to HIT Entertainment’s intellectual property and marketing rights for the preschool brands. The deal however does not include the company’s cable television network: Sprout. Apex Partners, a private equity firm, who were the previous owners of HIT Entertainment, had bought the TV Production company in 2005 for $890 million. Gerrick Johnson, a Toy analyst from BMO Capital Markets, says that Mattel’s acquirisition will in fact be beneficial and a good fit for both companies: “If HIT’s production capabilities havea ccess to Mattel’s brands- Barbie, He-Man, Hot Wheels- imagine what might happen… There are a lot of synergies here.” There has already been a close relationship established between the two companies. Mattel is already licensed to market “Thomas and Friends” merchandise until 2014. Jeffrey Dunn, CEO and President of HIT Entertainment claimed: “Under Mattel’s leadership, I look forward to seeing them grow to even greater heights.”
According to WSJ reported that approximately 80% of HIT’s profits stem from Thomas the Tank Engine.