Fisher-Price Signs Toy Deal for Thomas & Friends

January 5: HIT Entertainment has appointed Fisher-Price as the master toy
licensee for the boy-skewing preschool property Thomas & Friends in a multi-territory, multi-year deal.

Fisher-Price has been
granted the global rights for Thomas & Friends, excluding Japan, covering a range of categories,
including vehicles, figures and play sets, including die-cast vehicles and play
sets, and the TrackMaster train system. The Wooden track system rights remain
with RC2.

Other categories
Fisher-Price will cover are preschool toys, plush, games, puzzles, role-play
and water toys, battery-powered ride-ons and plastic pedal trikes (North and
South America and Asia only). The first line of products will be available in

Jeff Dunn, the CEO of HIT
Entertainment, commented: "Aligning one of the world's most successful and
preeminent preschool brands with the world's largest toy company is both an
exciting event and a natural evolution for HIT Entertainment. We are immensely
proud of Thomas & Friends,
a brand which continues healthy growth around the world and is today in 185
territories and in 45 languages around the world. We look forward to working
closely with Fisher-Price in taking Thomas & Friends to the next level as we begin preparations for Thomas' 65th anniversary celebrations in 2010."

Neil Friedman, the president
of Mattel Brands, added: "We are both excited and proud to be working with
the world's most successful preschool brand for boys. It feels only natural
that the world's number one preschool brand for boys and the world's largest
toy company should work together to continue the growth and development of this
much-loved property. Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends both have an incredibly rich history, and are much
loved by children and trusted with parents. At Fisher-Price, our business is
founded on the principles of providing innovative, high-quality and good value
toys that help make childhood more fun and enriching. We look forward to
bringing our expertise to development of the Thomas line—taking Thomas into its 65th year and beyond."

—By Kristin Brzoznowski