HALIFAX – Global children’s content and brands company DHX Media has closed its previously announced sale of a minority stake in Peanuts to Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ). DHX Media now owns 41% of Peanuts, SMEJ owns 39%, and the members of the family of cartoon creator Charles M. Schulz retain their 20% interest.

 

SMEJ has indirectly purchased 49% of DHX Media’s 80% interest in Peanuts for C$235.6 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments contemplated in the original agreement.

 

Both DHX Media and SMEJ have also completed their agreement to extend the duration of the current Licensing and Syndication Agency agreement with SMEJ’s consumer products division, Sony Creative Products (SCP) in Japan, where SCP has successfully grown the Peanuts business by over 200% as its agent since 2010.

 

Michael Donovan, Executive Chair and CEO, DHX Media, commented: “Through this transaction we have reduced our debt, while retaining control of Peanuts and strengthening our relationship with a world-leading entertainment and consumer products company. Peanuts is enormously popular around the world, and we look forward to working with Sony to continue driving growth for Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang.”

 

DHX Media has used the net proceeds from the transaction to reduce indebtedness under its term credit facility. The company was advised by Deutsche Bank Securities and Canaccord Genuity Corp.

 

Peanuts is a syndicated daily and Sunday American comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz that ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, continuing in reruns afterward.

 

The comic strip is among the most popular and influential in the history of comic strips, with 17,897 strips published in all, making it “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being”.

 

At its peak in the mid- to late 1960s, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of around 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages. It helped to cement the four-panel gag strip as the standard in the United States, and together with its merchandise earned Schulz more than $1 billion.