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HIT Makes US Inroads With Barney Buy

London-based HIT Entertainment hopes that the big purple dinosaur named Barney can help pave roads into the States for the company's content. HIT has announced that it will acquire Allen, Texas-based Lyrick Corp., the creators of Barney, for US$275 million. As part of the deal, Lyrick will receive $165 million in new HIT stock and $110 million in cash. HIT hopes that Barney's wide success will help bring attention to HIT animated series such as KIPPER THE DOG, ANGELINA BALLERINA and BOB THE BUILDER, which is already an overwhelming success in the U.K, and made its U.S. nod on Nickelodeon in January. In addition, HIT has signed a toy licensing deal for BOB with Mattel. HIT CEO Peter Orton said, "Barney is a U.S. icon, an integral part of almost every American preschooler's life with enormous international appeal."

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