Scripps Exploring “Strategic Options” For United Media

Posted by Marty Brochstein on February 25, 2010

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U.S. media company EW Scripps said Tuesday announced that it’s “exploring strategic options for United Media Licensing, the wholly owned character licensing operation of United Media. Among the possible outcomes of the exploratory process are a sale or joint venture involving all or part of United Media Licensing. Another option is to keep operating the business if the exploratory process leads management to determine that more long-term value can be created for company shareholders by retaining the property,” the company said.

“Scripps is proud to have United Media Licensing in its portfolio, but the recent interest and activity in the market for character-based properties make this an appropriate time to determine if more long-term value will be created for our shareholders by continuing to operate the business or finding another alternative,” said Rich Boehne, president and chief executive officer of Scripps. “We recognize that ‘exploring strategic options’ often is a euphemism for ‘sale,’ but this truly is an exercise to determine if these properties would be more valuable with another owner. If not, we’ll continue to nurture the characters as we have for decades.”

Any disposition of the United Medfia business is complicated by the fact that the family of Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts — by far the largest of the properties owned or repersented by United Media — has creative control over Peanuts-related activity. Presumably, the family would have to be comfortable with any ultimate disposition of United Media Licensing.