DHX Media Snaps Up ‘Peanuts’ & ‘Strawberry Shortcake’

Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake

Canada-based kids content company DHX Media has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the entertainment division of Iconix Brand Group, which includes an 80% controlling interest in Peanuts (which Iconix picked up in 2010) and 100% of Strawberry Shortcake (acquired from AG in 2015). The remaining 20% stake in Peanuts remains in the hands of members of creator Charles Schulz’s family. The total pricetag is $345 million USD), and the transaction is expected to close on or around June 30.

Peanuts is 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. We are thrilled by the opportunity to welcome Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the entire Peanuts gang into our family of leading kids’ properties, including Teletubbies, Inspector Gadget, Caillou, Degrassi and others,” said Dana Landry, CEO of DHX Media.

“Over the past 10 years, DHX Media has become a global leader in children’s entertainment content, building scale across production, distribution and consumer products and is perfectly positioned to benefit from the incredible growth of streaming services, worldwide. Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake have widespread, evergreen appeal that make them ideal for layering onto this platform, complementing our 450-title library, and significantly increasing our scale in consumer products. These brands are expected to drive meaningful growth across multiple revenue streams, and we look forward to extending their reach to new generations of kids worldwide.”

The agreement adds more than 340 half-hours of proprietary content to DHX Media’s library, which can be exploited across the company’s new territories and channels, and feed potential for new productions across platforms. DHX expects the two brands to expand its consumer products business from 19% to 44% of total annual revenue, which should grow 52% to approximately $443 million CAD. Further, DHX’s pro forma predictions include realization of annual cost synergies of $5 million CAD within the first year, post-closing, and $25 million CAD within the first five years.

Brand summaries:

Peanuts – When Charles M. Schulz created the world of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Woodstock and the rest of the Peanuts friends, he gave birth to a phenomenon that has endured for almost 70 years, and is now widely recognized across generations and demographics. Generating retail sales of $1.3 billion USD in 2015, the Peanuts brand has a strong, diversified global licensing program in approximately 100 territories with approximately 1,120 licensees, including Hallmark, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. and Cedar Fair. Animated Peanuts classics continue to be #1 ranked prime time TV specials and have been viewed in 196 countries, while 45 million comics are still read daily. In a recent E-Poll Market research report, Snoopy ranked as the #1 Most-Liked character in America among adult consumers and #2 for children. Snoopy was also one of the top three characters of which adult consumers would like to see more. Sources: Licensing Letter, Iconix Brand Group.

Strawberry Shortcake - A global girls’ property with multi-generational appeal, Strawberry Shortcake is truly a timeless brand. After more than 35 years since launch, it continues to resonate with young girls and their mothers who grew up with the beloved Strawberry Shortcake dolls. With a robust publishing program in 30 languages and 130 markets, 14 mobile apps and approximately 148 half-hours of content that have been viewed in 120 countries, Strawberry Shortcake holds tremendous potential in both the content and licensing markets. The property has generated $4 billion USD in global sales since 2002 from currently 305 licensees. DHX Media is currently producing, in conjunction with Iconix, a new animated series based on Strawberry Shortcake to drive new global growth for this perennial brand. Sources: American Greetings, Iconix Brand Group.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Peanuts

Peanuts