AT&T is reportedly looking to offload Crunchyroll, its streaming video service focused on anime, to Sony for $1.5 billion.
According to The Information, Sony has pushed back at AT&T’s asking price, which is a significant amount of money for what would be considered a “niche” streaming service.
If the two companies can come to an agreement, it would strengthen Sony’s position in the anime streaming market. The company already owns Crunchyroll competitor Funimation, which last year formed a joint venture with France’s Wakanim and Australia’s Madman Anime Group.
For AT&T, a $1.5 billion sale of Crunchyroll would help the company meet its goal of $10 billion in asset sales for 2020. The company announced the total last year amid pressure from investors to pay off debt associated with acquisitions like Time Warner.
However, AT&T would be giving up one of its most successful streaming services. Late last month Crunchyroll – which is part of WarnerMedia’s Otter Media division – announced that now has more than 3 million paid subscribers globally and more than 70 million registered users.
“Crunchyroll’s global growth has been incredible. We launched in 2006 and it took us about 10 years to hit one million subscribers. It took us only two years after that to break two million, and even less than that to hit three million subscribers where we are today. But, we don’t just measure success based on paying subscribers. We have an active and growing AVOD community of over 70 million registered users,” said Joanne Waage, general manager at Crunchyroll, in a statement. “Our goal has always been to grow the love of anime globally, and these numbers show our labor of love is paying off -- and this is just the beginning.”