AT&T sells Crunchyroll to Funimation Global Group, a joint venture of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment Aniplex. Crunchyroll and Funimation are both anime streaming services.
Sony pays $ 1.18 billion, or 970 million euros, to AT&T for Crunchyroll. If the acquisition gets approval from the relevant regulatory authorities, Sony will get an anime service with 3 million subscribers, 50 million social media followers and 90 million registered users.
Crunchyroll was founded in the US in 2006 as a forum for anime and as a platform for uploading clips. In the years that followed, the company grew into a streaming platform with more than a thousand anime titles and thirty thousand episodes. Crunchyroll reached one million subscribers in 2016.
In 2014, the company was owned by Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group. AT&T is disposing of the company as part of its strategy to divest non-core business divisions in order to reduce its indebtedness.
Funimation was founded in 1994. In 2017, the company was owned by a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment. The service offers seven hundred anime series, available on fifteen platforms in 49 countries. The company also focuses on anime events and merchandise.
The acquisition gives Sony a stronger position in the popular anime streaming market. Netflix, among others, is trying to conquer this market by investing in series.