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Mattel acquires Hit Entertainment

US toy manufacturer Mattel is to acquire kids producer and distributor Hit Entertainment for US$680 million.

The move will see it own a number of major preschool brands including Thomas The Tank Engine, Bob The Builder, Barney, Fireman Sam and Angelina Ballerina.

Mattel acquired the British kids company from private equity investment firm Apax Partners. The US company already sees sales of more than US$150 million per year from its range of Thomas & Friends toys and hopes to increase this following the sale.

The acquisition does not include Hit Entertainment’s stake in US kids channel Sprout.

“Mattel is the right home for Thomas & Friends. This powerhouse brand is joining the ranks of such iconic brands as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and American Girl,” said Robert Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer of Mattel.

“Hit Entertainment owns some of the most loved and trusted preschool brands in the world and under Mattel’s leadership, I look forward to seeing them grow to even greater heights,” said Jeffrey Dunn, president and chief executive officer of Hit Entertainment.

The deal is subject to antitrust approval.