Independent film and television studio Lions GateEntertainment is considering a roughly $1bn bid for children's media companyHIT Entertainment, according to reports over the weekend.

Lions Gate, which is based in Vancouver Canada, but has mostof its staff in Santa Monica, California, would gain London-based HIT's popularcharacters, including Barney the purpledinosaur, Bob the Builder and Thomasthe Tank Engine.

Last month HIT agreed to a 300 pence per share cash offer fromBritish private equity firm Apax. That bid valued HIT at around $923m (£489m).

Lions Gate Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer has said publiclyhe is keen to make an acquisition to the company which has been in an expansionmode for several years.

In 2003, Lions Gate acquired rival independent film andtelevision studio Artisan Entertainment in a deal that combined two companiesof roughly similar size. Lions Gate gained Artisan's large library of films,which gave it a steady source of cash flow that helped boost its revenues and profits.