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Good Grief! Rights to Peanuts Characters Are Changing Hands

CharlieB.jpgMere minutes after purchasing a whimsical Mother’s Day card featuring Woodstock (Snoopy’s avian sidekick, not the music festival), we learned that licensing rights to the Peanuts characters are being sold to Iconix Brand Group. The New York-based licensing company has reached a deal with United Features Syndicate and the E.W. Scripps Company to acquire the Peanuts brand and related assets in partnership with the family of the late Charles M. Schulz. The purchase price will be approximately $175 million, of which Iconix will pay 80% and the Schulz family 20%. Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang are already involved in a whopping 1,200 licensing agreements (with everyone from MetLife and Hallmark to H&M and Old Navy) in more than 40 countries and ring up retail sales exceeding $2 billion annually. “Peanuts is considered one of the most influential comic strips of all time and with its 60th anniversary this year the characters continue to be as popular as ever,” said Iconix chairman and CEO Neil Cole in a statement announcing the deal. “Owning the Peanuts business moves Iconix well beyond fashion into a true global brand management entity.” The company, which owns and markets such brands as Joe Boxer, Candie’s, and Bongo, reported 2009 revenue of $232.1 million. Earlier this year, Iconix announced a joint venture with Madonna (Schroeder is a huge fan).

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