HIT Entertainment is about to be sold to private equity firm Apax Partners in a deal worth some £490m.
In a statement the firm said it had reached agreement with Sunshine Acquisition, the company set up by Apax for a 300p a share cash offer valuing the business at £489.4m.
HIT is thought to have been hoping to attract the attentions of a media company such as Disney, to give its brands wider TV exposure resulting in stronger spin-off retail sales. The cash injection from Apax will give the business scope to grow further, with Apax likely to be looking for a media sales partner down the line.
Paul Fitzsimons of Apax Partners commented: "HIT is uniquely positioned in the global market for pre-school children's entertainment and has historically developed breakthrough characters and built a strong distribution platform. We are excited by the potential to take HIT to the next stage of its development through an expansion of its existing business platform, launch of the newly established US Digital Pre-school Channel, investment in HIT's key brands and acquisitions of new characters."
Peter Orton, chairman of HIT, said: "During the last 16 years HIT has developed into one of the world's leading children's entertainment providers with a great portfolio of brands. We have entertained children through the years with the help of some very creative, talented and committed individuals.
"We believe that there is long term potential in HIT; however, as the company prepares for its next stage of growth in tough, competitive markets, that future is not without significant risk. We believe Apax Partners' offer provides the certainty of cash at an attractive premium and is in the best interests of all HIT shareholders."