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Sony’s Funimation completes $1bn Crunchyroll anime acquisition

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has completed its US$1.175bn acquisition of US telecoms giant AT&T’s Crunchyroll anime business through its Funimation Global Group.


Tony Vinciquerra

The agreement, first announced in December 2020, will see the creation of “a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible,” according to Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of SPE.

It means Funimation, a joint-venture between SPE and Japan-based Sony Music Entertainment’s subsidiary Aniplex, will become an even bigger player on the global anime scene after joining up with Crunchyroll.

The latter’s direct-to-consumer service has five million SVoD subscribers and 120 million registered users across more than 200 countries and territories, offering AVoD, mobile games, manga, events merchandise and distribution.

Funimation, meanwhile, offers a growing catalogue of over 700 anime series and more than 13,000 hours of content available on 15 platforms and in 49 countries.

Since the deal was announced, AT&T has also sold a minority stake in satellite broadcaster DirecTV to private equity firm TPG and confirmed a shock mega merger between its subsidary WarnerMedia and factual giant Discovery to create Warner Bros Discovery.

Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president and CEO at Sony Group Corporation, said: “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.”

Vinciquerra added: “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.”



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