Some famous Minnesota natives may soon be getting new owners.
The company behind Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the other "Peanuts" characters is exploring a sale of its company, Reuters reports.
Reuters cited "people familiar with the matter" and did not identify them.
The news service reports Iconix Brand Group is working with an investment bank on an auction process to sell Peanuts Worldwide but says nothing is certain.
The Peanuts brand became less lucrative in October when insurance giant MetLife ended 30 years of using Snoopy and friends as its mascots.
But Reuters says the characters still generate $30 million a year for Iconix, partly through deals with companies including Hallmark Cards and Nestle. Their report says Chinese companies are among the investors interested in Peanuts Worldwide.
Twin Cities roots
According to the Charles M. Schulz Museum, the cartoonist was born in Minneapolis in 1922 but grew up in St. Paul. After serving in World War II, he returned to Minnesota and lived with his father in an apartment above Carl Schulz's St. Paul barber shop, selling comics to the Saturday Evening Post and the Pioneer Press.
Schulz's comic strip "Li'l Folks" was renamed "Peanuts" in 1950 and was syndicated in seven newspapers, the museum says.
When "Peanuts" became a hit, Schulz relocated to Santa Rosa, California, which is where the museum is located.