What just happened? Sony Pictures has completed its $1.175 billion acquisition of Crunchyroll from AT&T, wrapping up a deal that was put in motion back in December. The anime streaming site will be combined with Funimation, Sony's existing anime streaming platform.
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 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."
"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 added.
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.
"We are very excited to welcome Crunchyroll to the Sony Group," said Sony Corp. 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."