According to multiple news outlets, including the Financial Times, Mattel is in talks with Apax Partners to buy Hit Entertainment for £500 million. Two anonymous sources told the Financial Times that Mattel is in the final stages of negotiations to purchase the company that Apax bought in 2005 for £489 million. The sale of Hit will not include the group’s stake in children’s channel Sprout, but will include Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, and Pingu.
Hit Entertainment has announced an internal realignment of its business units. As a part of the realignment four new divisions will be created. The divisions will form two new lines of business: one focusing on Thomas & Friends, and the other on HIT Global Brands (Angelina Ballerina, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Pingu, and Rainbow Magic). The realignment is effective immediately.
The Thomas & Friends line of business will comprise three divisions: the New York-based “Thomas Americas,” London-based “Thomas EMEA, ” and the Hong Kong-based “Thomas Asia.” The HIT Global Brands business unit will be managed from London as one global division.
HIT’s Finance, Legal, HR, and IT groups will remain centralized staff units supporting both lines of business. As a part of the restructuring, Peter Byrne, executive vice president of International Consumer Products and Home Entertainment, will be leaving the company