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Hit Ent. Gets Worldwide Rights to Rainbow Magic

HIT Ent. has acquired worldwide rights to the popular girls' publishing property, RAINBOW MAGIC, and plans to create a television format of the books, as well as launch a range of consumer products.

Introduced in the U.K. in 2003, RAINBOW MAGIC, aimed at girls 5-9, is a collection of more than 60 books, which follows the magical adventures of Kirsty and Rachel and their interactions with different groups of fairies and other creatures in Fairyland. A publishing phenomenon, RAINBOW MAGIC has sold 10 million copies in more than 20 languages worldwide.

HIT will work closely with the creators of RAINBOW MAGIC, Working Partners and the publishers in each territory, to develop content for new books, an animated television series and a range of consumer products. The company will also launch a new style guide to support the licensing program and the subsequent series of books.

"Working Partners have established RAINBOW MAGIC as a pre-eminent girls' brand and publishing property around the world," said ceo HIT Ent. Bruce Steinberg. "Using HIT's depth and breadth of experience in developing children's brands globally, we look forward to taking RAINBOW MAGIC into new areas, including television, consumer products and live events as well as building upon its worldwide publishing success. The property's uniquely wholesome, magical and creative vision captures a child's imagination and perfectly complements our existing portfolio of world-renowned brands."

Chris Snowdon, Working Partners md, added, "Working together with Orchard Books in the U.K., Scholastic in the U.S. and many publishing partners around the world, we have seen RAINBOW MAGIC grow to a scale where we realized that it was best managed and developed further by an organization better able to maximize all the opportunities across the whole range of media. We are delighted to be placing this very special property in the hands of HIT Ent., especially as they have invited us to continue to contribute to the creation of new stories -- this being what Working Partners does best."

Rainbow Magic will join HIT's world-renowned portfolio of brands, including Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Pingu, Fireman Sam and Barney.

Established in 1989, HIT Ent. (www.hitentertainment.com), owned by private equity investment group Apax Partners since June 2005, is one of the world's leading pre-school children's entertainment producers and rights owners. With operations in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Hong Kong and Japan, the company's activities span television production and distribution, home entertainment, consumer products, publishing and live events. HIT is now one of the largest children's video distributors in the U.K. and the U.S. With more than 1,000 episodes of young children's programming, HIT sells programs to some 200 territories worldwide. In 2005, the company joined Comcast Corp., PBS and Sesame Workshop to launch PBS KIDS Sprout, a 24-hour digital cable channel and VOD service for preschoolers.

Working Partners, set up in 1995 by Ben Baglio and Rod Ritchie (who remain the directors of the company), has some 50 book properties in print with children's publishers worldwide. It has been responsible for many bestselling series, apart from RAINBOW MAGIC including ANIMAL ARK and WARRIORS. The latter, a feral cat animal fantasy for readers 9 and over, is currently in the top three bestselling children's series in the U.S. This year much excitement is being generated by the launch -- again with Orchard and Scholastic -- of BEAST QUEST, a series aimed principally at boys 8-10. Last year Working Partners (www.workingpartnersltd.co.uk) set up two new divisions: Rights People, which handles the sale of children's book rights around the world; and Working Partners Two, which creates fiction for adult publishers across the genres.

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