Bob The Builder will soon be working for a new owner after the company behind a host of children's characters agreed to a £489 million takeover that will net its founder and chairman Peter Orton about £30 million.
Hit Entertainment, which also has the brands Thomas The Tank Engine and Barney The dinosaur, is set to be bought by private equity giant Apax Partners - the same company that is also currently bidding for retailer Woolworths.
The proposed deal has been backed by Hit's independent directors and has so far secured the support of shareholders owning 35 per cent of the 16-year-old firm.
Peter Orton, chairman and founder of Hit, said he believed new ownership would prepare Hit for its next stage of growth - at a time when markets are tough and the "future is not without significant risk".
The harsher trading conditions were highlighted in half-year results as Hit also said that underlying profits had fallen by almost half to £13.3 million while turnover was down by £22.6 million to £70.2 million.
The decline was blamed on the weaker dollar in the United States, where the consumer licensing and home entertainment markets have also been weak.
Hit hopes its prospects will improve through moves to revitalise the Bob The Builder brand and the launch of a dedicated preschool digital television channel in the United States later this year.
With operations in the UK, US, Japan, Germany and Canada, around 45 per cent of revenues comes from home entertainment sales, with another 45 per cent stemming from consumer product licensing.
During half-year, Bob The Builder accounted for 15 per cent of group revenues with Barney generating 19 per cent and Thomas The Tank Engine - now in its 60th year - representing 23 per cent of total turnover at £16.3 million, a 16 per cent rise on last year.
Mr Orton, who founded the business in 1989 and has seen it grow rapidly on the back of the popularity of Bob The Builder, holds a 6.3 per cent stake in the company.
He noted that £10,000 invested in Hit on flotation in 1996 would be worth over £92,000 at the offer price, an annual return of 29 per cent per year.
"As you can imagine it is a pretty personal moment for me as chairman and founder of the company over the past 16 years," he said, adding that he will resign when the deal closes.