AT&T has sold Crunchyroll, its subscription streaming service focused on anime, to Sony Pictures Entertainment for $1.175 billion.
The companies did not provide an estimate for when the cash deal is expected to close.
Crunchyroll is going to Funimation, a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) subsidiary Aniplex. The service currently counts 3 million SVOD subscribers and 90 million registered users across more than 200 countries and territories offering AVOD, mobile games, manga, events, merchandise and distribution.
The final agreed upon price for Crunchyroll is less than what AT&T was reportedly asking. In August, The Information reported that AT&T wanted $1.5 billion but that Sony was pushing back against such a high price for a “niche” streaming service.
“The Crunchyroll team has done an extraordinary job of not only growing the Crunchyroll brand but also building a passionate community of anime fans. Crunchyroll’s success is a direct result of the company’s culture and commitment to their fans,” said Tony Goncalves, chief revenue officer at WarnerMedia, in a statement. “By combining with Funimation, they will continue to nurture a global community and bring more anime to more people. I’m incredibly proud of the Crunchyroll team and what they have been able to accomplish in the digital media space in such a short period of time. They’ve created an end-to-end global ecosystem for this incredible art form.”
"We are excited to embark on this new journey. These amazing fans have helped to propel anime into a global phenomenon,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll, in a statement. "Combining the strength of the Crunchyroll brand and the expertise of our global team with Funimation is an exciting prospect and a win for the incredible art form of anime.”
Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere. Funimation has been doing this for over 25 years and we look forward to continuing to leverage the power of creativity and technology to succeed in this rapidly growing segment of entertainment,” said Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement.