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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 17:28 GMT
HIT denies it has held bid talks
Bob The Builder
Sales of Bob the Builder products fell last year
HIT Entertainment, the media firm which owns the rights to Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine, has denied reports that it is in takeover talks.

The firm said The Sunday Times report saying it was in talks with Swiss investment firm Mediawin & Partners was inaccurate.

HIT confirmed that it had recently held a meeting with Mediawin but stressed that no potential bid was discussed.

HIT's chief executive, Rob Lawes, left last month after a fall in its profits.

Requested meeting

Mr Lawes was succeeded, on a temporary basis, by HIT's founder and former chief executive Peter Orton.

At no stage has a bid for the company been discussed
HIT Entertainment

The Sunday Times said it understood that Mr Orton had held informal talks with Mediawin in recent weeks.

"HIT's board confirms that it regularly meets existing and prospective investors and has met with Mediawin Partners at their request on this basis," the firm said in a statement.

However, it added: "At no stage has a bid for the company been discussed."

Mediawin, which is based in Geneva, could not be reached for comment

HIT suffered a 16% fall in profits last year as sales of Bob The Builder products, which account for more than a fifth of its revenue, fell by 33%.

HIT distributes Bob The Builder in more than 130 countries and has sold more than 2m videos, books and magazines.

HIT acquired the rights to Thomas the Tank Engine following its acquisition of Gullane Entertainment in 2002.

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