As WarnerMedia continues its major corporate shake-up (or stream-lining, depending on your perspective), it was announced on Wednesday that Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and AT&T Inc. had agreed to a deal that would find AT&T selling Crunchyroll anime service to Funimation Global Group, LLC (a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.'s subsidiary, Aniplex Inc). With Crunchyroll carrying more than 3 million SVOD subscribers, 90 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories, and offerings that include AVOD, mobile games, manga, events merchandise, and distribution, the deal looks to turn Funimation into one of the (if not the) biggest global distributors of anime.
"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."
Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. will pay $1.175 billion for the anime streaming service, subject to customary working capital and other adjustments, with proceeds set to be paid in cash at closing (though the deal is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals). "We are proud to bring Crunchyroll into the Sony family," said Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. "Through Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan, we have a deep understanding of this global art form 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."