Reuters reports that Iconix Brand Group Inc is “exploring a sale of its majority stake in Peanuts Worldwide LLC” and thereby sell the rights to much loved characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown.
Peanuts Worldwide LLC owns the rights to cartoon strip characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown as their friends Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Pigpen who were created by Charles Schulz.
While Peanuts characters were dropped as mascots last year by US insurance company MetLife Inc, Chinese companies are thought likely to be interested in the brands. Peanuts is also very popular in Japan, where there is a Snoopy Museum in Tokyo.
Peanuts characters are licensed in over 100 countries and generate about $30 million a year. Peanuts has agreements with brands such Nestle, Hallmark Cards and Zara and a contracts with ABC to air holiday-special episodes.
Iconix holds an 80 per cent share in Peanuts which was acquired for $175 million in 2010. The remaining 20 per cent is held by the Schultz family.
Troubled Iconix is also reported to be looking to sell its Strawberry Shortcake brand, despite last year saying that the brand would be developed into a new animated series.