Pingu swims in HIT kidvid deal

Acquisition comes at time of pretax profits of $10.9 million

LONDON — HIT Entertainment, home of Barney the Dinosaur and Bob the Builder, has added Pingu the Penguin to its kidvid characters in a £15.9 million ($23.1 million) deal.

Acquisition, which involved buying the rights to Pingu from a number of owners, came as the company posted pretax profits for the year ended July 31 of $10.9 million — up 53%. Sales climbed 153% to $75.9 million.

HIT acquired Lyrick Studios, and thus Barney, early this year in a major push into the American market.

The company said it was now the third biggest kidvid distributor in the U.S. with 12% market share.

HIT chairman Peter Orton said he expected big things from Pingu, describing the character as under-exploited outside Japan and the U.K.

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