Iconix Brand Group announced Wednesday, May 10, that it will sell its Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake brands to DHX Media (DHXM) for $345 million in cash.
DHX said in a statement that the deal will increase its revenue by 52% to C$443 million ($323.2 million) and its revenue by 40% to C$134 million. DHX estimates annual cost synergies of C$5 million within the first year after the close and C$25 million within the first five years. The Canadian media company holds many children's media brands, including Teletubbies, Caillou and Yo Gabba Gabba.
Iconix CEO John Haugh said in a statement that the New York-based company has been focused on delevering by exiting its entertainment business, noting that its term loan is "expensive" and "highly restrictive." As of Dec. 31, Iconix's long-term debt topped $1.25 billion.
"We are now focused on a second strategic objective of driving profitable revenue growth by focusing our resources on the businesses where we have a leadership position-fashion, active and home," he said.
In 2010, Iconix paid about $175 million for an 80% stake in the "Peanuts" brand and other assets from United Features Syndicate and E.W. Scripps. The Schulz family holds the remaining 20% through vehicle Beagle Scouts. Then, on Feb. 3, 2015, Iconix added the Strawberry Shortcake brand for $105 million from American Greetings Iconix said in its statement that the combined purchase price for just the Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake assets was $246 million.
The sale comes about seven months after U.S. insurer MetLife dropped Peanuts' Snoopy as its mascot after 31 years. Among Peanuts' other 700-odd licensees are Walt Disney's (DIS) ABC, Time Warner's (TWX) Warner Bros., Target (TGT), Uniqlo and Nestle. Peanuts' largest international market is Japan, which boasts a museum devoted to Snoopy in Tokyo. Iconix also believes that Snoopy is Facebook's (FB) "most engaging character brand."