Good briefs, Charlie Brown! PEANUTS licensing goes to underwear firm, Schulz heirs in $175M deal [UPDATED]
NOTE: This post originally published at 11:30 a.m. April 27.
Joe Boxer, meet Joe Cool.
Or put more simply: The rights to marketing Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the rest of the "Peanuts" cast -- as well as such United characters as Dilbert -- are changing hands.
United Media Licensing's $2-billion-a-year merchandise business will go to Iconix in an all-cash deal. Iconix's fashion brands include Mossimo, Rocawear and -- yes -- Joe Boxer (Good briefs, Charlie Brown).
"The Peanuts brand and other acquired assets will be purchased through a newly formed subsidiary, which will be owned 80% by Iconix and 20% by the Schulz family," the news release says.
The "Peanuts" brand reportedly is licensed in more than 40 countries and generates retail sales of more than $2-billion annually. According to reports, New York-based Iconix says it expects the deal to generate about $75-million annually in royalty revenue.
Scripps has owned the "Peanuts" licensing rights since launching the strip in October 1950. "Peanuts" creator Charles "Sparky" Schulz died in February 2000.
"We realized they were the kind of company we could partner with," Jean Schulz, wife of the late cartoonist, tells Comic Riffs. "We saw that we could work with Iconix to create a new company. ... That means we'll have more control and we'll have a partner who's very aligned to the 'consumer' market."
Jean Schulz said that for decades, a goal of her husband's had been to gain rights of "Peanuts." At one point, that became "the biggest thing that he wanted," Schulz says. "I think he's smiling" today.
And what of other cartoonists whose licensing is affected? "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams tells Comic Riffs: "I have no idea how the sale will impact me. It's basically a Peanuts deal, and Dilbert is along for the ride. I don't know much beyond the press release."
As for the syndication side of things, the release makes clear: "Scripps still owns United Media's syndication operation and will continue to syndicate comic strips and editorial features that are developed and marketed worldwide through United Feature Syndicate and Newspaper Enterprise Association."
In other words: More of your profits will go to your creator's family, Charlie Brown.
| April 27, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories: The Comic Strip | Tags: Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown, E. W. Scripps Company, Iconix Brand Group, Joe Boxer, Peanuts, United Media Licensing
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