Peanuts, which was a big deal when I was growing up in the '80s, seems a bit old-timey now. But there's apparently still lots of money in the brand: The rights to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts crew just sold for $175 million.
I'm tempted to say that Iconix, the branding company that now owns 80% of the licensing rights, figures it can cash in on the warm, fuzzy nostalgia that American 30-somethings like me feel toward the icons of our childhood.
But, as usual, this isn't about me. It isn't even about the U.S.
Peanuts is a monster of a global brand. Of the $2 billion in annual retail sales of Peanuts products, two-thirds comes from outside the U.S., according to Iconix.
The company, which also has a joint venture selling clothes with Madonna and which owns Joe Boxer and other brands, is partnering on the deal with the heirs of Charles Schulz, who wrote Peanuts and who died in 2000. Shulz's heirs will have a 20% stake. They're buying the brand from the media company E.W. Scripps.
Iconix said it expects Peanuts to generate annual royalty revenue of about $75 million. The company will also get the licensing rights to Dilbert as part of the deal.
Here's the press release from Iconix, and here's a story on the deal from the WSJ.