April 27 (Reuters) - U.S. brand manager Iconix Brand Group Inc (ICON.O) may acquire the Peanuts comic strip brand from E.W. Scripps Co (SSP.N) for about $175 million, in partnership with heirs of the cartoonist Charles Schulz, the Wall Street Journal said.
Iconix will control an 80 percent share in the Peanuts brand, the paper said.
Iconix expects Peanuts to generate about $75 million in annual royalties, the paper said.
Schulz created the Peanuts comic strip in 1950 and it went on to become one of the widely syndicated comic strips in history. Schulz died in 2000 at the age of 77.
The Peanuts licenses generate annual retail sales of more than $2 billion, according to Iconix, the Journal said.
“This asset is a dream for a marketer,” Neil Cole, chief executive of Iconix, told the newspaper.
The Schulz heirs will receive a portion of the revenue in addition to their minority stake in the new partnership, according to the paper.
The Peanuts deal follows Iconix’s joint venture with pop singer Madonna to launch fashion brands globally, starting with a juniors collection to be sold at Macy’s (M.N) department stores this August.
Iconix and E.W. Scripps could not immediately be reached for comments by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Rupert Winchester) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))