Sony’s Funimation Global Group have acquired the anime streaming service Crunchyroll for US$1.175 billion (approx. £848.6m), their parent company Sony Pictures announced in a press release today. The acquisition was previously announced in December 2020, but has now closed.
It is currently unknown how this deal will affect the operations of the streaming services Funimation and Crunchyroll, which have been seen as key competitors for a number of years, aside from a brief partnership from 2016-2018. A statement by Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra, however, could indicate a plan to join the two services together in some form:
Crunchyroll adds tremendous value to Sony’s existing anime businesses, including Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan. With Crunchyroll and Funimation, we are committed to creating the ultimate anime experience for fans and presenting a unique opportunity for our key partners, publishers, and the immensely talented creators to continue to deliver their masterful content to audiences around the world. With the addition of Crunchyroll, we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve anime fans like never before and deliver the anime experience across any platform they choose, from theatrical, events, home entertainment, games, streaming, linear TV — everywhere and every way fans want to experience their anime. Our goal is to create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.
Reports had circulated last year indicating that AT&T, who own Crunchyroll under their WarnerMedia umbrella, were seeking a sale as part of a wider effort to try and offset the company’s growing debt. Anime News Network are reporting that AT&T are expected to put the funds from this sale towards its debt reduction efforts.
Source: Sony Pictures