The anime streaming service Crunchyroll announced on Wednesday that Sony's Funimation Global Group will acquire Crunchyroll. Funimation's website also confirmed the acquisition. Sony reports that the purchase price is US$1.175 billion, to be paid in cash. None of the companies has provided any further details about the acquisition, and the deal is still awaiting regulatory approvals and other conditions.
"We are excited to embark on this new journey. Crunchyroll has built a world-class brand with a passionate fan-base of over 3M subscribers, 50M social followers and 90M registered users. These amazing fans have helped to propel anime into a global phenomenon," said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll. "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."
In a separate statement from Funimation, company SEO Colin Decker said, “The union of Funimation and Crunchyroll is a win for anime fans around the world that will elevate the art and culture of this medium for decades to come. Combining these two great companies will be a win for fans and enable us to compete at a truly global scale. I am honoured to welcome the wonderful Crunchyroll team to a shared mission—to help everyone belong to the extraordinary world of anime.”
Now that Sony owns both Crunchyroll and Funimation, the company has a huge influence on anime contents in the US at a time when many other media companies are trying to figure out their anime content. Netflix has also invested heavily in both licensing and producing its own anime content.
Crunchyroll launched in 2006 as a streaming service offering anime titles without authorization. The website secured US$4.05 million in its first-round funding from Venrock and began licensing titles for streaming in 2008.
The Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll in December 2013. The Chernin Group and AT&T formed the joint venture Otter Media in 2014, and Otter Media invested another US$22 million in Crunchyroll's parent company Ellation in November 2015. AT&T then announced in August 2018 that it acquired all of Otter Media.