US toy maker Mattel has announced a deal to buy HIT Entertainment, owner of Thomas the Tank Engine and other popular children’s brands.
The maker of the Barbie doll, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price toys is buying HIT in a $680m (£420m) cash deal.
It means Mattel will now own all the rights to make toys based on characters such as Bob the Builder, Barney the Dinosaur and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Mattel already produces many HIT products under license.
“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,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, the president and chief executive of HIT.