AT&T $1.17bn sale of Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation
AT&T confirms the sale of its Crunchyroll anime business to Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) through its subsidiary Funimation Global Group.
Funimation is a joint venture between SPE and Sony Music Entertainment Japan’s subsidiary, Aniplex Inc. The news follows a previous sale agreement announced in December 2020.
“We are very excited to welcome Crunchyroll to the Sony Group. Anime is a rapidly growing medium that enthralls and inspires emotion among audiences around the globe," said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, president and CEO, Sony Group Corporation.
"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 is an anime direct-to-consumer service with approximately 5 million subscription video-on-demand subscribers, serving 120 million registered users across more than 200 countries and territories offering advertising-based video on demand, mobile games, manga, events merchandise and distribution.
As an combined entity, Crunchyroll and Funimation will be able to broaden distribution for their content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers.
“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," said Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
"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.”
Valued at $1.175 billion this was an all-cash transaction the proceeds of which AT&T has said it will use to help pay down its debts with plans to reach a net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA of below 2.5x by year-end 2023.