Sony Takes Stake In 'Peanuts' And Charlie Brown
A unit of Japanese consumer electronics maker Sony Corp. has agreed to indirectly acquire 49 percent of Canada-based DHX Media's (DHXM, DHX_A.TO, DH_B.TO) 80 percent stake in the Peanuts entertainment businessfor Peanuts entertainment businessfor C$237 million in cash, or $185 million, subject to customary working capital adjustments.
Pro forma for the transaction, DHX Media will own 41 percent of "Peanuts," while Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) or SMEJ will own 39 percent, and the members of the family of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz will continue to own a 20 percent stake. DHX Media and SMEJ intend to complete the transaction on or about June 30, 2018.
DHX Media is a children's content and brands company recognized globally for its properties such as Peanuts, Teletubbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Caillou, Inspector Gadget, and the Degrassi franchise.
DHX Media acquired a majority stake in the Peanuts brand as part of its $345 million acquisition of the entertainment division of Iconix Brand Group in May 2017. While the acquisition helped the company to significantly increase its revenue, it also resulted in an increase in its debt load.
Peanuts is an American comic strip written and illustrated by Schulz that focuses entirely on a social circle of young children. It is based on characters such as Charlie Brown, his pet beagle Snoopy, and Lucy Van Pelt, who often mocks and intimidates others, especially Charlie Brown.
DHX Media and SMEJ have also agreed to extend the duration of an existing licensing and syndication agency agreement with SMEJ's consumer products division, Sony Creative Products Inc. or SCP in Japan.
SCP is an intellectual property management company in Japan that has represented Peanuts since 2010, and is currently spearheading multiple licensing programs celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Peanuts' launch in Japan.
Sony has grown the Peanuts business in Japan over 200 percent since they became the agent of DHX Media in 2010.
DHX Media intends to use the net proceeds from the transaction after the payment of transaction costs to reduce its debt under its term credit facility.