Apax Partners is putting up for sale all of its HIT Entertainment subsidiary after an attempt to sell just the Thomas the Tank Engine property attracted interest from such major buyers as Disney, Viacom, Mattel and Hasbro.
HIT Entertainment owns such popular children’s brands as Bob the Builder Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam and Barney, reports The Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Apax has spent the past year restructuring HIT’s debt and originally planned to sell off just the popular Thomas property. Apax hopes to sell HIT and the rights it holds to more than 1,500 hours of children’s programs seen in 240 countries, for as much as $1.5 billion.
According to the Telegraph, interest for Thomas alone has come from Mr. Men owner Chorion, which is owned by private equity group 3i, but the group would prefer to sell Hit as a whole.