'Teletubbies' Owner Buys Peanuts, Strawberry Shortcake Brands for $345 Million

THE PEANUTS MOVIE still 3 - H 2015
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC

The deal follows DHX Media and Iconix Brand Group already co-producing a TV animated series based on the classic Strawberry Shortcake kids toy brand.

Snoopy and Charlie Brown are joining the Bob the Builder and Teletubbies characters at DHX Media after the Canadian kids producer and broadcaster Wednesday unveiled a deal to buy the Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake brands from Iconix Brand Group for $345 million in cash.

The deal includes DHX taking an 80 percent stake in the Peanuts Worldwide LLC property, with the remaining 20 percent stake being retained by the estate of Charles Schulz, who created the popular cartoon comic strip characters.

DHX Media last year made a deal with Iconix to co-produce a new TV animated series based on the classic Strawberry Shortcake kids toy line. Iconix in a statement said it sold the Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake brands to reduce its debt load and strengthen its balance sheet.

Iconix acquired the Strawberry Shortcake brand from American Greetings for $105 million after picking up earlier entertainment properties like Peanuts and My Little Pony. The Strawberry Shortcake brand is built around the title character and her similarly sweetly named friends.

Iconix in partnership with the Schulz family produced the first-ever feature film based on the Peanuts characters. DHX Media in recent years has diversified away from the maturing North American TV market to supply SVOD services worldwide with mostly kids content.

The Canadian company built up its programming catalog by acquiring rival Canadian producer Cookie Jar Entertainment and its classic programming like Arthur, Caillou and Care Bears and Teletubbies owner Ragdoll Worldwide.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2017. DHX also said it arranged debt financing via Jeffries Finance and RBC Capital Markets to acquire the Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake brands.