Today, the E.W. Scripps Co. announced that Snoopy has a new owner. The company, which owns the licensing rights to Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, will sell them to Iconix Brand Group Inc. for $175 million, the same company that owns the Joe Boxer brand.
It’s not unusual for big brand names to switch hands, but what makes this sale unique is that Schulz’s family is in on the deal. They’ve created a new partnership with Iconix that will rope them in for 20 percent ownership of the Peanuts brand, and according to Yahoo News, they’ll chip in for 20 percent of the sale price.
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While it’s nice to have the Schulz family’s fingers back in the proverbial Peanut-pie, don’t expect it to make the mass marketing any more wholesome. The Peanuts franchise pulls in more than $2 billion in sales annually by pimping out Charlie Brown and the gang to theme parks, greeting cards and t-shirts – and that’s minus the money brought in from the actual comic itself. (Those poor little guys are so over worked for children.)
In full disclosure: I’m a huge Peanuts fan, and while I appreciate that I would be more than able to furnish my entire apartment with Peanuts-adorned decor, I just have a problem with the whole “merchandising meal ticket” aspect of it all. (I’m young. I’m still idealistic. Sorry.)
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And though I’m not trying to criticize the Schulz heirs for continuing the family business, I guess I still wish Peanuts could retain its classic status without the Snoopy-on-a-coffee-mug-every-where-I-turn-a-palooza. Then again, what I would do without my Lucy’s Psychiatric Help Booth figurine set, I have no idea. Yep, guess I’m just as guilty.