Sony Pictures Entertainment has reached an agreement with AT&T to purchase its Crunchyroll anime business – a direct-to-consumer service within the WarnerMedia segment – for a proposed $1.175bn.
Under the deal, Crunchyroll anime will fall under Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc and Sony Music Entertainment Inc’s Funimation Global Group, a giant on the anime scene.
Crunchyroll is recognised as a premier anime direct-to-consumer service within AT&T’s WarnerMedia segment with more than 3 million SVOD subscribers and growing. It currently serves 90 million registered users across more than 200 countries and territories offering AVOD, mobile games, manga, events merchandise and distribution.
The combination of Crunchyroll and Funimation will provides the opportunity for Sony to broaden distribution for its content partners and expand its offerings for consumers, while cementing itself as one of the largest global players in the anime scene.
“The Crunchyroll team has done an extraordinary job of 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 their fans,” said Tony Goncalves, chief revenue officer, WarnerMedia.
“By combining with Funimation, they will continue to nurture a global community and bring more anime to more people. I’m incredibly proud of the Crunchyroll team and what they have been able to accomplish in the digital media space in such a short period of time. They’ve created an end-to-end global ecosystem for this incredible art form.”
Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, added: “We are proud to bring Crunchyroll into the Sony family. Through Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan, we have a deep understanding of this global artform and are well-positioned to deliver outstanding content to audiences around the world.
“Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and 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 leverage the power of creativity and technology to succeed in this rapidly growing segment of entertainment.”
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.