EL SEGUNDO, California ( TheStreet) -- Mattel ( MAT) said Monday it would buy HIT Entertainment , which owns preschool brands such as Thomas & Friends, Barney and Bob the Builder, for $680 million in cash. Mattel is buying HIT from a consortium led by Apax Partners funds. HIT has revenue of more than $180 million. HIT is one of the largest independent owners of preschool intellectual property, Mattel said in a statement. The acquisition doesn't include HIT's interest in the cable network station, Sprout. Mattel plans to finance the acquisition with a combination of cash and debt. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012. Mattel said the acquisition isn't expected to have a material impact on its 2012 earnings. -- Written by Joseph Woelfel >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.