Newspaper and TV station owner The E.W. Scripps Co. announced Tuesday (April 27) it agreed to sell United Media Licensing, which manages the iconic Peanuts brand, to Iconix Brand Group for $175 million cash. The deal comes two months after Scripps launched a strategic review of its character licensing business.
In conjunction with the acquisition, Iconix formed a partnership with the family of the late Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts characters.
Scripps will continue to own and operate United Media’s syndication operation, which syndicates comic strips and editorial features developed and marketed via United Feature Syndicate and Newspaper Enterprise Association.
The deal is expected to close by the end of second quarter.
New York-based Iconix (formerly known as Candie’s) will add the Peanuts brand and other United Media licensing properties to its portfolio which includes a number of brands such as Candie’s, Bongo, Badgley Mischka, Joe Boxer, London Fog, Danskin, Fieldcrest, Charisma and several other brands through joint ventures.
Scripps said it has not decided how to deploy the after-tax proceeds of the sale.
“We’re putting our characters in good hands at Iconix,” said Rich Boehne, president and CEO of Scripps. “This is the right move for all involved as we go our separate ways in recognition of changing times and new strategies. Parting with our licensing operations was a difficult decision, but it allows Scripps to advance our focus on being an innovative leader in the rapidly evolving news industry.”