Fisher-Price is to become the worldwide master toy licensee for Hit Entertainment's Thomas & Friends.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Fisher-Price - which is a division of Mattel - will be bringing together some of Thomas & Friends' core category rights and will begin using its worldwide distribution capability to enhance and grow the long-term business for the brand.
The first line of products will be available in 2010 and will expand as existing licensees' rights expire across key toy categories.
Fisher-Price has been granted the global rights (excluding Japan) on vehicles, figures and play-sets, including die-cast vehicles and play-sets and the Trackmaster train system; pre-school toys, including electronic learning and developmental toys; plush, games, puzzles, role-play and water toys; battery powered ride ons; plastic pedal trikes (North and South America and Asia only).
The wooden track system rights remain with RC2.
"Aligning one of the world's most successful and pre-eminent pre-school brands with the world's largest toy company is both an exciting event and a natural evolution for Hit Entertainment," said Jeff Dunn, CEO.
Neil Friedman, president of Mattel Brands, added: "We are both excited and proud to be working with the world's most successful pre-school brand for boys. It feels only natural that the world's number one pre-school brand for boys and the world's largest toy company should work together to continue the growth and development of this much-loved property."