Is Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) looking to please its inner cub? Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the company was readying a bid for England's HIT Entertainment PLC (NASDAQ:HIEMF). HIT, which had already received a $921 million offer to take the company private, is a strong player in children's programming.

If your child responds to the opening bars of Yankee Doodle Dandy by shouting "Barney!" or fires back "Yes we can!" when asked "Can we build it?" then at least one of you knows HIT all too well. The preschool-content specialist is responsible for getting shows like Barney, Bob the Builder, and Thomas the Tank Engine on the air.

HIT had been very receptive to buyout offers after last year's drop in sales and earnings. Barney and Bob the Builder accounted for 45% of HIT's revenue last year, and both properties suffered declines. Add to the mix that kids can be just as fickle as adults are, and you can see why it was a good time to strike up Barney's "I love you, you love me" goodbye song.

That doesn't mean that Lions Gate may be bidding into a disaster. As long as it doesn't have to offer up much more than $1 billion, the company should thrive as a major player in the youth market. Until now, Lions Gate has been best known for taking some chances with films, like the politically divisive Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary and the amateurish Open Water fish tale. Both returned many times over their modest production budgets.

Scooping up HIT won't place Lions Gate on the same level with Disney (NYSE:DIS) or Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) Nickelodeon, but it will be getting within spitball-shooting distance. Back in October, HIT teamed up with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), PBS, and the folks from Sesame Street to announce the first round-the-clock preschool digital cable channel. Because exposure means even more licensing opportunities -- and Lions Gate has found ways in the past to polish up properties neglected by others -- this all adds up to a dynamic opportunity for Lions Gate.

The company's entry into the bidding process may rattle the acquisitive branches of Disney or Viacom, and they can't dismiss Lions Gate as merely an indie-film distributor if the company is able to pull this deal off.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz still can't get some of those Barney songs out of his head, even though his sons outgrew the purple dinosaur years ago. He owns shares in Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.