In 1950, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz began a comic strip named “Lil Folks”, later called “Peanuts," which showed slices from the life of a boy named Charlie Brown, his pet beagle Snoopy, and their circle of friends.

From this humble origin grew a multimedia franchise that remains iconic to this day, that even insurance giant MetLife went on to use the characters (well, mostly Snoopy) as brand ambassadors.

But times have changed. Schulz died in 2000, and last year MetLife ended its marketing partnership with the “Peanuts” brand. Now news has come that this totally American franchise is going to do something that’s rather unimaginable: In a way, it’s moving to Canada.

Going Canadian

The brand management firm Iconix Brand Group, a New York-based company that has held an 80% controlling interest in the “Peanuts” media brand ever since buying it from the family and estate of creator Charles Schulz in 2010 for $175 million, is now selling that same stake to DHX Media from Nova Scotia. The Schulz family retains a fixed 20% stake.

This media production and broadcaster has as part of its library such programming as the children’s educational shows “Yo Gabba Gabba!” and “Teletubbies”, as well as animated shows “Inspector Gadget” and “Arthur”, making DHX the world’s largest independent owner of children’s TV fare.

With this sort of clout behind them, DHX Media is negotiating with Iconix to secure the 80% stake of the “Peanuts” brand, as well as another property under their umbrella, Strawberry Shortcake.

The total amount they are offering for both items is $345 million. According to estimates by DHX, they expect to have a deal finalized with Iconix by June.

Childhood anxiety as an art form

Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip had been both popular and critically acclaimed in its entire 50-year run, with the artist drawing it consistently until his death.

Very much appreciated was its central theme of childhood anxieties, as superbly demonstrated by Charlie Brown and his age-appropriate trials and tribulations, as encapsulated by his permanent inability to successfully kick a football into the air (because it’s always falling out of his foot’s way).

Just over a decade into its print run, “Peanuts” broke into animation in 1965 with “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, which became an annual tradition for a time.

Its latest major animation adaptation was a feature-length CGI film, “The Peanuts Movie” in 2015, which earned $246 million at the box office from a $99 million production budget. Even today, over a hundred countries have license agreements with Schulz’s franchise, which is all but immortal to its audience and customers.