Mattel has entered into an agreement to acquire Hit Entertainment for $680 million in cash from a consortium led by Apax Partners funds. With more than $180 million of revenues, Hit Entertainment a global independent owner of preschool intellectual property. The acquisition does not include HIT Entertainment’s interest in the cable network station, Sprout.

The transaction is expected to be financed with a combination of cash and debt and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on Mattel’s 2012 earnings. The transaction is also subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.

HIT Entertainment is a global independent children’s entertainment producers and rights-owners. Hit’s portfolio includes properties such as Thomas & Friends, Barney, and Bob the Builder, among others. Launched in 1989, HIT Entertainment’s lines of business span television, video and movie production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing, live events and attractions.