NEW YORK, LONDON and HONG KONG, Jan 05, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ --
HIT Entertainment, one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights owners has today announced the appointment of Fisher-Price, Inc. as the global master toy licensee for Thomas & Friends(TM), the world's Number 1 preschool property for boys, in a multi-territory, multi-year deal.
Under the terms of the agreement, Fisher-Price, a division of the world's leading toy company, Mattel, Inc., will be bringing together some of Thomas & Friends' core category rights and will begin using its world-wide distribution capability to enhance and grow the long term business for this iconic brand. The first line of products will be available in 2010 and will expand as existing licensees' rights expire across key toy categories.
Fisher-Price has been granted the global rights for Thomas & Friends, excluding Japan, on:
-- Vehicles, figures and play-sets, including die cast vehicles and play sets, and the TrackMaster(TM) train system -- Preschool toys, including electronic learning and developmental toys -- Plush, games, puzzles, role play and water toys -- Battery-powered ride-ons -- Plastic pedal trikes (North and South America and Asia only)
Jeff Dunn, CEO, HIT Entertainment, commented:
"Aligning one of the world's most successful and preeminent pre-school brands with the world's largest toy company is both an exciting event and a natural evolution for HIT Entertainment. We are immensely proud of Thomas & Friends, a brand which continues healthy growth around the world and is today in 185 territories and in 45 languages around the world. We look forward to working closely with Fisher-Price in taking Thomas & Friends to the next level as we begin preparations for Thomas' 65th Anniversary celebrations in 2010."
Neil Friedman, President of Mattel Brands added:
"We are both excited and proud to be working with the world's most successful preschool brand for boys. It feels only natural that the world's number one preschool brand for boys and the world's largest toy company should work together to continue the growth and development of this much-loved property. Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends both have an incredibly rich history, and are much loved by children and trusted with parents. At Fisher-Price, our business is founded on the principles of providing innovative, high quality and good value toys that help make childhood more fun and enriching. We look forward to bringing our expertise to development of the Thomas line -- taking Thomas into its 65th year and beyond."
The Wooden track system rights remain with RC2.
About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment, owned by private equity investment group Apax Partners, is one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights-owners. HIT's portfolio includes properties, such as Barney(TM), Bob the Builder(TM), Thomas & Friends(TM), Pingu(TM), Fireman Sam(TM), Angelina Ballerina(TM) and Rainbow Magic(TM). HIT represents Chapman Entertainment's Fifi and the Flowertots(TM) and Roary the Racing Car(TM) in North America and Japan. HIT also acts as a worldwide representative for The Jim Henson Company's library of classic family brands and as representative for The Wiggles(R) in the UK. Launched in 1989, HIT's lines of business span television and video production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing and live events and has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. HIT is a part-owner of US-based preschool channel, PBS KIDS Sprout(SM), and international preschool channel JimJam, (outside of the US, UK and China). For more information, visit http://www.hitentertainment.com.
Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT) located in East Aurora, N.Y., is the leading brand of infant and preschool toys in the world. The Company has a 77-year legacy of high quality toys that enhance early childhood development. Its often-emulated Play Laboratory was the first child research center of its kind in the toy industry, allowing researchers to observe the way children play and how play benefits their development. Some of the Company's best-known "classic" brands include Little People(R), Power Wheels(R) and View-Master(R). Fisher-Price is also a leading developer of baby gear products (infant swings, bouncers, high chairs, nursery monitors), as well as a wide array of character-based toys inspired by high quality children's programming such as Sesame Street(R), Dora the Explorer(TM) and Winnie the Pooh. The Company's web site, http://www.fisher-price.com, provides valuable information and resources to parents.
To download artwork, please visit http://www.hitnewsonline.com. * Sources: US NPD: YTD September 2008; UK NPD Oct 2008; Australia: License to Thrill 3rd Quarter 2008
SOURCE HIT Entertainment
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