Mattel's Acquisition of 'Thomas & Friends' Maker HIT Entertainment to Close on Wednesday

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UPDATED: The toy giant reported higher fourth-quarter earnings, but didn't immediately mention any entertainment brands as driving its results.

NEW YORK - Toy giant Mattel on Tuesday said its $680 million acquisition of HIT Entertainment, the producer of such TV shows as Thomas the Tank Engine, will close on Wednesday.

Mattel also reported fourth-quarter results without citing any entertainment properties as key contributors. In the third quarter, Cars 2 toys and sales of Disney Princesses had been key drivers of results. But CEO Bryan Stockton said on a conference call later that Disney Princesses had "another strong year" and Cars had its biggest year to-date as the number one vehicle brand for the year only behind Mattel's Hot Wheels. Looking ahead, Stockton predicted continued solid Cars business, calling the brand an "evergreen property."

The toy company posted quarterly earnings of $370.6 million, up 14 percent over the year-ago period. Revenue edged up 1 percent to $2.2 billion. Barbie sales rose 6 percent. Plus, the company raised its dividend by 35 percent.

“Mattel delivered another strong year, our third consecutive year of solid performance, which I am especially pleased about given the soft global economic backdrop and the highly promotional environment, particularly in the U.S.,” said Stockton. “Despite these challenges, for the year we delivered strong revenue growth and record operating income."

He highlighted that four of the top five properties for the 2011 holiday season were Mattel toys.

Management on a call also lauded the continued success of the Monster High brand. Asked if it could get a movie deals, management highlighted that a film would be great, but the property has done well without one and is expected to continue being a good performer either way.


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