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Ben Margot / AP

Iconix Brand Group Inc. is selling Snoopy's Peanuts brand to DHX Media Ltd. (think "Bob the Builder" and "Teletubbies") for $345 million, sending Iconix shares up Wednesday and DHX shares down in morning trading, per Reuters.

The deal: The $345 million is higher than analysts estimated, Forbes reports. 80 percent is going to DHX while 20 percent of the Peanuts brand will remain with the cartoon's creator's family (Charles Schulz passed in 2000), according to DHX.

Why it's happening: Iconix is swimming in about $1.3 million in debt. When MetLife Inc. announced late 2016 it was dropping the Peanuts characters as mascots after three decades of collaboration (the contract runs out in 2019), that certainly didn't help, and Iconix began looking into a sale soon after the parting.

Why it matters: As Axios' Dan Primack wrote in January: "You mean, beyond the fact that we're talking about Woodstock, Lucy, Linus and the whole gang being for sale? Let alone the Great Pumpkin? You need more than that? No. That's enough."

Go deeper

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

The deplatforming fight shifts to the courts

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Capitol riot and tech firms' sweeping attempt in its wake to dislodge the online far right are kicking up efforts to have the courts settle knotty questions about online speech and power.

Why it matters: Legal battles could force the people angry at Big Tech to bring more rigor to arguments that have often devolved into messy sideshows.