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Iconix Acquires United Media Licensing, Peanuts

United Features Syndicate and E.W. Scripps have sold the United Media Licensing business, as well as the Peanuts brand, in partnership with the Schulz family, to Iconix Brand Group for $175 million.The acquisition grants Iconix with its first character br

April 6, 2018

2 Min Read

United Features Syndicate and E.W. Scripps have sold the United Media Licensing business, as well as the Peanuts brand, in partnership with the Schulz family, to Iconix Brand Group for $175 million.

The acquisition grants Iconix with its first character brands. Until now Iconix owned mostly fashion brands from Candie's to Joe Boxer. Besides the Peanuts property, Iconix also adds United Media's Dilbert and Fancy Nancy to its roster.

"Owning the Peanuts business moves Iconix well beyond fashion into a true global brand management entity with a wide variety of agreements that range from theme parks to media to financial institutions," says Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer of Iconix Brand Group. "It also extends our international platform with Peanuts licensed in more than 40 countries and approximately two-thirds of its revenue coming from outside of the U.S."

The Peanuts property, created by Charles M. Schulz in 1950, had been with United Media for the last 60 years, attributing to a global licensing program of more than 1,200 partnerships with companies such as MetLife, Hallmark, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., H&M and others. In 2009, the comic gang led by Charlie Brown and Snoopy generated $2.1 billion in sales of licensed merchandise, according to License! Global's Top 25 Licensing Agents as reported in April.

"After closing this transaction, Iconix will be diversified with fashion only representing approximately two-thirds of our revenue," adds Cole. "Further, we believe Peanuts' large global footprint and broad licensing relationships will also open up new doors for our existing portfolio of brands and future acquisitions. We are equally excited to have the Schulz family as our partners and believe their passion and insight will be invaluable to the future success of the Peanuts brand."

Iconix was recently ranked No. 2 in License! Global's Top 125 Licensors of 2009. The company reported $9 billion in sales of licensed merchandise at retail last year through its brands—Candie's, Op, Starter, Mossimo, Joe Boxer and others—most of which have direct-to-retail partnerships with Walmart, Kohl's, Target and others around the world.

Pending the transaction, E.W. Scripps will continue to own United Media's syndication business. The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter.

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