Mattel, Inc, has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire HIT Entertainment for $680 million. HIT Entertainment owns a portfolio of popular preschool brands, including Thomas & Friends, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, and Angelina Ballerina. HIT will become part of the Fisher-Price Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel since 1993.
Thomas & Friends, created more than 65 years ago, routinely ranks among the world’s leading preschool toys and is a powerhouse brand now joining the ranks of such iconic brands as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and American Girl.
Fisher Price in East Aurora manufactures Little People, Power Wheels, View-Master and Chatter Telephone. The first Fisher-Price toy ever sold was “Dr. Doodle” which was introduced in 1931. Other brands marketed under the Fisher-Price name include Disney, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and See ‘n Say.
Fisher-Price already produces HIT’s toys under license. After the acquisition in 2012, Fisher-Price will develop both the toy and consumer product lines of HIT which includes blankets, clothing and other non-toy products. Development and promotion of its licensed brands such as Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street are supported by Fisher-Price’s East Aurora headquarters. Thomas & Friends is a popular British television series but the toy is well-known and loved by American children.
Fisher-Price was founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher and Irving Price. It was purchased by the Quaker Oats Company in 1969. Then, in 1991 Fisher-Price broke from Quaker Oats and became a publicly traded company subsequently purchased by Mattel in 1993.
Fisher-Price has dominated the infant and preschool toy market for over 60 years and has become known for the high quality and durability of its products. The company is a massive marketer of toys principally for children under the age of five. It is also a leading manufacturer of infant furniture and car seats.
Mattel’s headquarters are located in El Segundo, California. In 2011, Mattel was named as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the fourth year in a row.
Click here to read an article in The Buffalo News about Fisher-Price and Thomas the Tank Engine.
The Buffalo News, 10-25-2011