Sony has agreed to buy the anime streaming service Crunchyroll from AT&T in a deal worth of $1.175 billion, Sony and AT&T announced on Wednesday. Crunchyroll, which has more than 3 million subscribers will now become a part of Sony’s Funimation, which already includes right to many popular shows such as Attack on Titan, and One Piece.
As Sony now owns both Crunchyroll and Funimation, it will give the company tremendous power over the anime in the US where other media companies like Netflix are also trying to figure out their anime content. With this Sony will acquire streaming rights to more than 1,000 anime titles alone.
Joanne Waage, the general manager of Crunchyroll said, in a statement that:
“We are excited to embark on this new journey, Crunchyroll has built a world-class brand with a passionate fan-base of over 3 million subscribers, 50 million social followers, and 90 million registered users. These amazing fans have helped to propel anime into a global phenomenon. 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.”
“With the union of Funimation and Crunchyroll, it is a win for anime fans around the world that will elevate the art and culture of this medium for decades to come,” Colin Decker, CEO of Funimation Global Group, said in a statement. “Combining these two great companies will be a win for fans and enable us to compete at a truly global scale. I am honored to welcome the wonderful Crunchyroll team to a shared mission—to help everyone belong to the extraordinary world of anime.”
The talks of this sale were first reported back in August, when AT&T wanted Sony to pay $1.5 billion for Crunchyroll, and the two sides were reportedly close to a nearly $1 billion deal in October. But now after two months, both parties have agreed upon a $1.175 million deal.
AT&T purchased Crunchyroll for $1 billion from Chernin Group as part of Otter Media in 2018 according to the New York Times. John Stankey, the current CEO of AT&T and head of WarnerMedia, said the company will use the Otter Media acquisition to “harness Otter’s expertise” while strengthening its own digital assets such as the crown jewel HBO Max.