NEW YORK (AP) — Snoopy and Charlie Brown are getting a new corporate buddy.
Iconix, the brand licensing company that owns the "Peanuts" gang of characters, said Tuesday that it is buying the rights to cartoon character Strawberry Shortcake for $105 million. It will buy the pink-haired character from greeting card company American Greetings.
The New York company hopes to breathe new life into the 35-year-old brand with possible clothing, toy and TV show or movie deals. The deal is expected to close within 45 days.
Strawberry Shortcake, who has freckles on her face and wears a strawberry-shaped hat, first showed up on greeting cards in 1980. Since then she has been made into a doll and has been featured on products as varied as pajamas, cosmetics and food. Cleveland-based American Greetings tried to sell the brand several years ago, but the deal fell through. American Greetings, which sells cards and wrapping paper, also owns the Care Bears and Holly Hobbie characters.
Strawberry Shortcake has more than 350 licensing deals around the world, Iconix said. The character "resonates across multiple generations from daughters to mothers to grandmothers," said Leigh Anne Brodsky, a managing director of Iconix's entertainment unit.
"We see many opportunities to grow this brand worldwide," she said in a statement.
Iconix Brand Group Inc. mostly owns and licenses clothing brands such as Joe Boxer, London Fog, Badgley Mischka and Candie's. It first entered the entertainment industry in 2010, when it bought the rights to the Peanuts characters from newspaper publisher E.W. Scripps Co. for $175 million. An animated film, "The Peanuts Movie," will be released by 20th Century Fox later this year.
In a separate purchase, Iconix said Tuesday that it bought the North American rights to athletic brand Pony for $37 million from Chinese investment holding company Symphony Holdings Ltd.
Shares of Iconix rose $1.20, or 3.6 percent, to $34.91 in afternoon trading Tuesday.