Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) has acquired a stake in the classic “Peanuts” brand, created by Charles M. Schulz, from DHX Media. The two companies announced a strategic partnership Monday that sees Sony indirectly purchase 49% of DHX Media’s 80% stake in “Peanuts” for $185 million in cash. Following the deal, DHX Media will own 41% of the brand, Sony 39% and the Schulz family 20%.
Alongside the deal, Sony and DHX agreed to an extension of an existing licensing and syndication agency agreement between DHX and Sony’s consumer products arm, Sony Creative Products in Japan, which has represented the brand since 2010, leading to 200% growth in the brand locally in that time. Sony Creative Products is currently working on a number of licensing programs to mark the 50th anniversary of the “Peanuts” brand’s debut in Japan.
“We are honored to deepen our relationship with Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) as we continue our expansion of ‘Peanuts’ globally,” said Michael Donovan, executive chair and CEO of DHX Media. “Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) has incredible expertise in rights management across the entertainment and consumer products industries. This transaction will allow DHX Media to de-lever our balance sheet as we team up with an ideal partner to help us reach our worldwide growth targets for ‘Peanuts’ in the coming years.”
DHX will use the proceeds from the deal, after payment of transaction costs, to reduce debts. The deal is expected to close around the end of June this year, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.
DHX Media acquired the “Peanuts” brand as part of a $345 million acquisition of the entertainment division of Iconix Brand Group in May 2017.