Viacom acquires rights to Garfield

Jim Davis, creator Garfield ( Albert L. Ortega/WireImage/Getty Images )

HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - The rights to the cartoon cat Garfield were acquired by the parent company of the Nickelodeon cable network, it was announced today.

The media conglomerate Viacom announced Tuesday it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Paws, Inc., the entity holding global intellectual property rights to the Garfield and the "U.S. Acres" franchises, including corresponding rights related to content, consumer products and location-based experiences.

The acquisition of Garfield is part of Nickelodeon's strategy to be the home of the characters children love the most, according to Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins.

"This acquisition marks another step in our evolution toward being kids first stop for the best new content and characters, so we're incredibly happy to have Garfield join our growing roster of globally loved franchises and to introduce this cool cat to a new generation of fans," Robbins said.

The acquisition is expected to close in the upcoming weeks, Robbins said.

Following completion of the acquisition, Nickelodeon plans to develop a new Garfield animated television series. Global merchandising rights to Garfield will be managed by Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products, including the property's existing portfolio of licensees.

Garfield creator Jim Davis will continue to produce the Garfield syndicated comic strip, the world's widest syndicated comic strip.

Garfield has spawned movies, two animated series, stage shows and merchandise. Davis was inducted into the Licensing Hall of Fame in 1998.

"U.S. Acres" was a comic strip created by Davis ran from 1986-89.

"I've always tried to make people laugh with humor that is classic and appealing to both kids and adults," Davis said. "I'm delighted that Garfield is going to be placed in the capable hands of the folks at Nick. They know how to entertain and will be great stewards for the franchise."