‘Peanuts’ sold to Joe Boxer owner
Good grief. You wouldn’t think the unit that owns the
licensing rights to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the “Peanuts”
gang would go for less than tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot, would you?
E.W. Scripps Co. said it will sell United Media Licensing and the “Peanuts” brand to Joe Boxer owner Iconix Brand Group Inc. for $175 million in cash.
sale of United Media Licensing also means Iconix has a new partnership
with the family of the late “Peanuts” creator, Charles Schulz. They’ll
receive 20 percent ownership in the unit that owns “Peanuts” and pay
that percentage of the sale price.
United Media Licensing
represents other character brands such as Dilbert and Fancy Nancy, but
the bulk of its licensing business comes from “Peanuts.” The
acquisition grants Iconix with its first character brands. Until now
Iconix owned mostly fashion brands from Candie’s to Joe Boxer.
unit’s licensed merchandise has annual sales of more than $2 billion,
but the owners of the licenses receive a fraction of that. In 2009,
revenue of the unit fell 10 percent to nearly $92 million. That figure
includes United Media’s syndication operations, which Scripps will still
own, meaning it will still syndicate comic strips and editorial
United Media Licensing has more than 1,200 licensing
agreements and relationships with companies and retailers such as Warner
Bros., Old Navy, CVS, MetLife Inc. and Hallmark Co. Some 20,000 new
products are approved each year in more than 40 countries.
first brought “Peanuts” to market in 1950. By the time Schulz retired
in 1999, Peanuts was in more than 2,600 papers.
Iconix said it expects “Peanuts” to generate about $75
million in annual royalty revenue and noted a pre-existing revenue share
with the Schulz family, separate from the new 20 percent arrangement.
Iconix, based in New York, owns and licenses brands such as Joe Boxer,
London Fog, Starter and Mudd, to retailers, wholesalers and suppliers.
Peanuts characters have been our entertaining co-workers and the Schulz
family has been our trusted partner for nearly 60 years. But this is
the right move for all involved as we go our separate ways in
recognition of changing times and new strategies,” said Scripps CEO Rich
Iconix CEO Neil Cole said the purchase moves the company
away from being one focused solely on fashion into new realms that
include theme parks, media and financial institutions– although one can easily presume that various characters will now be appearing on even more t-shirts, etc.