Sony Completes $1.175 Billion Acquisition of Crunchyroll

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) this week completed its $1.175 billion acquisition of AT&T’s anime company, Crunchyroll, through Funimation Global Group. Funimation, Sony’s existing anime streaming platform,  is a joint venture between SPE and Aniplex Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan).

Original reports that Sony was close to acquiring Crunchyroll first arrived in October last year. Founded in 2006, it had been a subsidiary of Otter Media, itself a subsidiary of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, since 2018. Available on the Xbox, PlayStation, streaming devices, and phones in more than 200 countries, Crunchyroll boasts 5 million SVOD subscribers and 120 million registered users. It offers AVOD, mobile games, manga, events merchandise, and distribution.

AT&T agreed to sell Crunchyroll to Sony in December. That deal was finalized yesterday with a selling price of $1.175 billion, subject to customary working capital and other adjustments.

Crunchyroll is a direct-to-consumer anime service with five million SVOD subscribers and 120 million registered users throughout more than 200 countries. It offers AVOD, mobile games, events merchandise, and distribution.

Crunchyroll will be joining other animation groups under the Sony banner, including production company Aniplex, distributor Madman, studios CloverWorks and A-1 Pictures, and Funimation, which Sony bought for $143 million in 2017. Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc, said the goal is to “create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.”

“We are very excited to welcome Crunchyroll to the Sony Group,” said Sony Group Corporation president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. “Anime is a rapidly growing medium that enthralls and inspires emotion among audiences around the globe. The alignment of Crunchyroll and Funimation will enable us to get even closer to the creators and fans who are the heart of the anime community. We look forward to delivering even more outstanding entertainment that fills the world with emotion through anime.”

“Crunchyroll adds tremendous value to Sony’s existing anime businesses, including Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan,” said SPE’s chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra. “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,” Vinciquerra continued. “Our goal is to create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.”

Crunchyroll has now joined the list of media assets sold by AT&T as the company seeks to lower its debt, which Deadline reports was $180 billion at the time of the Time Warner acquisition in 2018.

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