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Sony Music unit buying stake in Canadian company that partially owns Peanuts

AP

Snoopy may be joining Sony.

Electronics giant Sony Corp.’s music unit said Monday that it is buying a stake in Peanuts Holdings, the company behind Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Sony Music Entertainment Inc. signed a deal with DHX Media Ltd. , based in Nova Scotia, Canada, to acquire 49 percent of the 80 percent stake DHX holds in Peanuts.

Under the deal, Sony Music will own 39 percent and DHX 41 percent. The family members of Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, will continue to own 20 percent of Peanuts. The parties hope to complete the acquisition on or about June 30, according to Tokyo-based Sony.

DHX is a leading children’s content and brand company, known for the cartoon character Strawberry Shortcake as well as producing children’s shows, in addition to Peanuts.

Sony said it sees Peanuts as “world-class,” and hopes to use its character business expertise to strengthen the brand and push the business to grow.

Sony has a range of characters under its wings, including those from its PlayStation video games. Its film division makes the Spider-Man movie series.

Snoopy and other Peanuts characters are extremely popular in Japan, and featured on a variety of everyday goods from T-shirts to plastic chopsticks.

The comic series was translated into Japanese decades ago, becoming an instant hit.

Peanuts began as a comic, first published in American newspapers in 1950. It’s now carried in 2,200 newspapers around the world in 21 languages. In 2020, it will celebrate its 70th anniversary. Schulz, who used to say that all he wanted to do was to “draw funny pictures,” died in 2000.

The popularity of Peanuts stems partly from its ability to connect with a wide audience through its poetic portrayal of a children’s world, exploring with sensitivity and humor themes such as failure, heartbreak and the pursuit of music.