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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 12:53 GMT
Postman Pat joins with Dick Tracy
Postman Pat and Rupert the Bear
Postman Pat's owners have big plans for the character and his pals
Postman Pat and Rupert Bear are set to join forces with He-Man, Lassie, Dick Tracy and other well-known US children's characters after a takeover.

UK company Entertainment Rights (ER) has agreed to buy US rival Classic Media Holdings for 106.9m ($210m).

ER's boss Mike Heap said there were already plans to bring out programmes that mixed UK and US characters.

He added that the move would give ER greater US exposure and help it expand into markets such as China and India.

McBoing Boing

"We want characters better known in the US - like Dick Tracy - to be brought the other way," Mr Heap told the Reuters news agency.

"It wouldn't surprise me if in the future Postman Pat, Rupert Bear and Lassie all appear in the same movie."

He added that that company already had plans for an animated meeting between Lassie and Postman Pat's cat Jess.

Analysts called the acquisition a bold move, and ER's shares had dipped by 2.5% to 29.50 pence in lunchtime trade.

ER will have a library of about 8,700 episodes of children's programmes after the purchase, including characters such as Basil Brush, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lone Ranger, George of the Jungle, and Gerald McBoing Boing.

Explaining the motivation behind plans to expand into new markets, Mr Heap said that "children's products are like the music business - they can travel all over the world".

"There's not much different between kids in Beijing and kids in Bolton - they want to be happy and amused," he said.

The deal will be a mix of cash and shares, and will require approval by ER shareholders at an extraordinary meeting scheduled for 8 January.


SEE ALSO
Rupert Bear artist commemorated
27 May 06 |  London
Spin-off show for Postman Pat cat
21 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Rupert the Bear moves to new home
31 Oct 05 |  Business
Postman Pat owner profits shine
26 Sep 05 |  Business

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