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HIT Entertainment Board Recommends Buyout

21 Mar, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

London-based HIT Entertainment, creators of Bob the Builder, Barney, Thomas & Friends and The Wiggles, among other brands, is recommending that shareholders accept a £489 million ($927 million) buyout offer from London-based private equity investment group Apax Partners & Co.

In six-month financial results ended Jan. 31, HIT cited “abnormally high” retailer returns of home video product in the United States and the weak dollar that resulted in pre-tax profit of £2.9 million ($5.5 million) compared to £14.6 million ($27.7 million) during the same period last year.

“We believe this offer is in the best interests of shareholders and provides an attractive premium to today's [March 21] share price,” said Chris Burdick, CEO of HIT.

HIT, which returned Bob the Builder and Thomas & Friends to U.S. television in January, said it is in the process of launching a cable program with Comcast and a separate children's radio service.

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