Deal also adds 'Strawberry Shortcake' to DHX's roster of leading children's IP
The acquisition gives the Canadian media production, distribution and broadcasting company an 80% stake in Charles M. Schulz’s iconic “Peanuts” gang, including Snoopy and Charlie Brown, and full control of the “Strawberry Shortcake” IP. The remaining 20% interest in “Peanuts” remains with the Schulz family.
“DHX Media feels like a perfect fit for ‘Peanuts,’” Jean Schulz, widow of the “Peanuts” creator, said in a statement released Wednesday. “We respect their innovative and rich history with developing children’s shows and brands, and we look forward to working with Dana and his team to steward ‘Peanuts’ in the future.”
Dana Landry, CEO of DHX Media, called the “Peanuts” gang “one of the world’s greatest entertainment brands, with a tremendous global legacy of comics, animated content and consumer products reaching back almost 70 years.” He said both brands retain “widespread, evergreen appeal” that complement DHX’s 450-title library, which include “Teletubbies” and “Inspector Gadget.”
The acquisition adds more than 340 half-hours of proprietary content to the library, which DHX expects to feed potential new production on the two brands, including new digital content for YouTube, mobile, and VOD services.
“These brands are expected to drive meaningful growth across multiple revenue streams,” said Landry. “We look forward to extending their reach to new generations of kids worldwide.”
“Strawberry Shortcake” was originally designed by Muriel Fahrion for greetings card producer American Greetings Corp. in 1979 and was licensed by Kenner Products the same year to create a toy line. Iconix acquired the brand from American Greetings for $105 million in February 2015. Iconix acquired its share in the “Peanuts” brand in April 2010 as part of a $175-million deal with United Features Syndicate and The E.W. Scripps Co.
DHX expects the two brands to increase the scale and breadth of its consumer products business from 19% to 44% of total annual revenue, on a pro forma basis, with revenue stated to grow 52% to approximately C$443 million ($323.4 million). The company says adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization would rise 40% to approximately C$134 million ($97.8 million).
The acquisition of Iconix is expected to close around the end of June, subject to anti-trust scrutiny and other customary closing conditions.