Hit Ent. signs deal with creditors

Company's owners took $500 million hit last year

LONDON — Hit Entertainment, the international tyke producer and rights holders whose properties include “Barney” and “Thomas the Tank Engine,” has written down $500 million from its balance sheet, but has secured a financial agreement that the company said puts it back on a sound financial footing.

Apax Partners, the private equity combo that bought Hit prior to the credit crunch, bore the full brunt of the “goodwill write down,” which left Hit with a pre-tax loss of $569 million for the year ending July 2009.

But the company said that a deal agreed with creditors signed April 16 meant its finances were now in order.

Jeffrey Dunn, prexy and CEO of Hit, said: “This allows us to focus on what we do best — making great entertainment for kids.”

Hit’s revenues rose from $238.4 million to $249.2 million in the 12 months to July 31, 2009.

However, the outfit warned that revenue from DVD sales remained threatened by the growing number of illegal online downloads.

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