Iconix moots idea of $300m rights sell-off of world’s most famous beagle
How much is Snoopy worth? That’s a question that Iconix Brand Group could soon know the answer to, as it explores the sale of its majority stake in Peanuts Worldwide, which owns the rights to the world’s most famous beagle and its owner Charlie Brown.
Snoopy was created in 1950 by American cartoonist Charles M Schulz. At its peak, the syndicated Peanuts strip generated revenues of around $1bn a year, with Schulz earning $30-40m. The original cartoons ended when Schulz died in 2000, but they are still rerun in newspapers and inspired a $250m-revenue movie in 2015.
Schulz’s family and Iconix paid US media group EW Scripps $175m for the rights in April 2010. The strip is licensed in more than 100 countries and, including merchandising and other deals, can generate revenues of around $80m in a good year. Iconix’s move reflects the business’s financial difficulties and the ending of a $12m-a-year licensing deal for the strip with insurance group MetLife.
There is strong interest from Chinese companies keen to acquire US media and licensing properties. As analysts say that a majority stake in Charlie Brown and Snoopy could fetch around $300m, they won’t be sold for peanuts.