Official: Sony Funimation buys AT&T's Crunchyroll
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
By Gustavo Pineda
Sony Pictures Entertainment and AT&T today made official the sale of Crunchyroll (AT&T) to Funimation Global Group, LLC. for an amount of $ 1,175 million dollars. Funimation is a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and subsidiaries Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. and Aniplex Inc.
In a press release , Sony announced that the transaction price will be subject to working capital and other adjustments, and the proceeds will be paid in cash at the close of the purchase. The Japanese company further noted in the newsletter that "the combination of Crunchyroll and Funimation provides the opportunity to expand distribution for its content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers ."
“We are proud to add Crunchyroll to the Sony family. Through Funimation and our excellent partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan, we have a deep understanding of this global art form and are well positioned to deliver exceptional content to audiences around the world. Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and a greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere. Funimation has been doing this for over 25 years and we look forward to continuing to harness the power of creativity and technology to succeed in this rapidly growing entertainment segment. ”
Tony Vinciquerra, President and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.
For those wondering, what will happen now with Crunchyroll? The platform itself said in a press release that both parties cannot yet share details until the purchase is completed, which is pending regulatory approvals.
“We know that you will have many questions about this news and we are sorry we cannot answer all of them at the moment. Until the deal closes, Crunchyroll and Funimation will continue to operate independently. Despite this great news, we are still the same Crunchyroll we were yesterday and we will continue to bring you more anime! "
Last August, The Information was the first medium to report that AT&T would have offered Crunchyroll directly to Sony for $ 1,500 million. A few days later, Variety would point out that the US conglomerate would have actually set a starting price of $ 1,000 million for the sale, and Sony was just another of the multiple buyers in the negotiation. In the last weeks Nikkei Asia confirmed that Sony was already in final negotiations for the acquisition of the platform.
Sony already had a large presence in the anime industry outside of Japan. In 2017, the company acquired a majority stake in Funimation , another American streaming platform specializing in anime. By September 2019, the company decided to consolidate, under this brand, two other distributors that it had in the international market: Wakanim and Madman Anime Group. With this, the company already has a presence in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Mexico and Brazil. In Japan, Sony is the owner of the distributor and producer Aniplex.
For its part, Crunchyroll started as an illegal anime streaming service in 2006. Two years later, the website obtained financing to begin purchasing licenses for anime streaming in the United States. In 2013, The Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in the company, and a year later AT&T entered the picture. AT&T would finalize the purchase of Crunchyroll's assets in August 2018. The platform has 90 million registered users (3 million of them as subscribers) in more than 200 countries and territories where they also offer manga, mobile games, merchandise and distribution of events.
“The Crunchyroll team has done an extraordinary job not only growing the Crunchyroll brand, but also building a passionate community of anime fans. Crunchyroll's success is a direct result of the company's culture and commitment to its fans. By combining with Funimation, they will continue to nurture a global community and bring encouragement to more people. I'm incredibly proud of the team at Crunchyroll and what they have been able to accomplish in the digital media space in such a short time. They have created a global ecosystem from start to finish for this incredible art form. "
Tony Goncalves, Chief Revenue Officer, WarnerMedia
Dear readers, what do you think of Funimation's acquisition of Crunchyroll?