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Thomas the Tank Engine finds new home in East Aurora

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Photo provided by Fisher Price, East Aurora, NY
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Young boys play with Thomas the Tank toys

Thomas the Tank Engine has found a new home in Western New York.  

The popular line of toys has been acquired by Fisher Price based in East Aurora. The company bought both Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder from H-I-T entertainment for $680 million. The purchase is the largest for Fisher Price in the past 10 years.

“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 D. Dunn, president and chief executive officer of HIT Entertainment. “Mattel is a wonderful steward of brands and a great home for the outstanding properties HIT has developed and grown, including Thomas & Friends®. It is fitting that the world’s premier toy company should become the owner of the world’s premier pre-school property.”
 
Irina Hemmers, a partner in the Apax Media team, commented: “We are very pleased that this strong portfolio of iconic brands will continue to flourish in the hands of Mattel. Fisher-Price already produces HIT’s toys under license so the two companies know each other well and there is considerable industrial logic in this combination. I would like to thank the employees and the management team for ensuring that HIT’s brands achieved their leading global position in the preschool character space. We wish the whole company every success for the future.”

The transaction is expected to be financed with a combination of cash and debt and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.