Sources say Iconix Brand Group is exploring a sale of its majority stake in Peanuts Worldwide. Fred Katayama reports.
Snoopy may fetch a new owner. Sources say the company that owns the rights to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang is exploring a sale of its majority stake in Peanuts Worldwide. Iconix Brand Group has been burdened with debt, and it took another blow in October when insurer MetLife dumped Peanuts characters it had been using as mascots for more than three decades. Reuters' corporate restructuring reporter Jessica DiNapoli explains why Iconix is working on an auction. SOUNDBITE: JESSICA DINAPOLI, CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING REPORTER, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The company has focused on paying down some of its debt over the past year or so. They did that with the sale of the Sharper Image last year. It's very possible that they would do the same with proceeds from the sale of their stake in Peanuts." Sources say Chinese companies have shown interest as well as other investors. Japan is Peanuts' largest overseas market. Witness this Snoopy Museum which opened in Tokyo last year. Peanuts remains popular. The characters generated about $30 million in pretax earnings last year. And the Peanuts Movie grossed nearly $250 million in 2015.