Chicago: The iconic comic strip Peanuts and its characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown now have a new owner, with the E W Scripps Company selling the brand to Iconix Brand Group for USD 175 million.
Media enterprise firm E W Scripps has signed an agreement to sell its unit United Media Licensing, which owned Peanuts` licensing rights, to Iconix in an all-cash transaction expected to close by end of the second quarter.
As part of the transaction, Iconix will also acquire the licensing and character representation business of United Media Licensing, which, in addition to Peanuts, represents a number of character brands, including Dilbert and Fancy Nancy.
The Peanuts brand and other acquired assets will be purchased through a newly formed subsidiary, which will be owned 80 per cent by Iconix and 20 per cent by the family of
the late Charles Schulz, who created the Peanuts characters.
Iconix expects Peanuts to generate approximately USD 75 million in annual royalty revenue.
"We are putting our characters in good hands at Iconix. This is the right move for all involved as we go our separate ways in recognition of changing times and new strategies," The E W Scripps Company president and CEO Rich Boehne said in a statement.
The cast of Peanuts includes well known characters such as Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty and Woodstock.
Peanuts has a strong diversified global licensing platform with over 1,200 licensing agreements including association with MetLife, Hallmark, Universal Studios, Warner Bros, Cedar Fair, H&M, Benetton, Old Navy, CVS and Walgreens.
The Peanuts brand is licensed in over 40 countries and generates annual retail sales of over two billion dollars, Iconix said.
"Owning the Peanuts business moves Iconix well beyond fashion into a true global brand management entity with a wide variety of agreements that range from theme parks to media to financial institutions," Iconix Brand Group, Chairman and CEO Neil Cole said.
United Media Licensing is one of the largest independent licensing agencies in the world, working with more than 1,250 licensees in approximately 40 countries.
New York-based Iconix Brand is a brand management company that engages in licensing and marketing for a portfolio of owned consumer brands, including Candie`s, Bongo, Joe Boxer, Ed Hardy and Ecko.