Some of Britain’s best-loved kids brands are to disappear abroad after the entertainment firm behind Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder was sold to American toy giant Mattel for a knock down price.
Private equity firm Apax was forced to halve its £1billion price tag for HIT Entertainment because of the worsening economic climate.
It had put the debt ridden business on the block in April but after an auction spanning six months it has agreed to sell it to Mattel for £426million in cash. The price tag is significantly less than the £490million it shelled out in 2005 to take the business, chaired by former BBC director general Greg Dyke, private.
The deal means some of the biggest names in children’s television will move Stateside in a deal that will see HIT’s Fireman Sam joining forces with Mattel’s Barbie and Ken.