Mattel acquires Kids Sprout channel partner HIT Entertainment

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Toy giant Mattel is buying HIT Entertainment, part owner with PBS and Sesame Workshop of the Kids Sprout children’s educational cable channel, for $680 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter. With more than $180 million in annual revenue, HIT is one of the largest independent owners of intellectual property for preschoolers, holding titles including Thomas & Friends, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam and Angelina Ballerina. Sprout launched initially as a video on demand service on April 1, 2005, and became a cable and satellite channel in September 2005 (background, Current, Nov. 1, 2004).