Sony to Take $185 Million Stake in Snoopy IP Holder

Snoopy CGI Peanuts - H 2014
Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox

The deal is the first entertainment acquisition under new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.

Sony Corp. is taking a 39 percent stake in Peanuts Holding, the Snoopy IP company, for $185 million, the company said Monday morning in Tokyo.

Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. will buy 49 percent of the 80 percent stake in the rights holder of the popular comic strip and cartoon from DHX Media, the Canada-headquartered kids' content heavyweight.

DHX Media will be left with about 41 percent of Peanuts, while the estate of Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, will continue to own 20 percent.

The acquisition is set to go through around June 30, according to Sony, and is not expected to have a significant impact on the company's financial forecast for the fiscal year to March 2019.

The deal will be the first entertainment acquisition since Kenichiro Yoshida took over from Kaz Hirai as Sony's CEO on April 1. There has been speculation around whether Yoshida would be as much of a champion as Hirai had been for entertainment at Sony, but the Peanuts move fits with Yoshida's strategy of having long-term revenue generators at the corporation.

Peanuts, best-known for its Snoopy character, first appeared as a comic strip in U.S. newspapers in 1950, and has since spawned TV cartoons, movies and a huge range of licensed merchandise.