CALIFORNIA (Agencies) Mattel, toymaker extraordinaire and owner of Barbie and Fisher-Price, among others, announced recently that it had bought Hit Entertainment in a €496 million cash deal. Hit is the producer of preschool entertainment including Thomas & Friends, Barney the Dinosaur, Bob the Builder Sam the Fireman, Pingu and Angelina Ballerina, among others. "Thomas & Friends is one of the leading toy lines among the preschool crowd," said Mattel boss Robert A. Eckert, adding "this powerhouse brand is joining the ranks of such iconic brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels and American Girl." Jeffrey Dunn, president and chief executive of Hit said, "It is fitting that the world's premier toy company should become the owner of the world's premier preschool property." A marriage made in the boardroom, say we.