It really happened! Nikkei Asia previously reported that it was in the process. However, both Funimation and Crunchyroll announced it now. Despite saying they can’t share many details, one thing is clear. Funimation is to acquire Crunchyroll for a $1.175 billion deal! To be more specific, AT&T has agreed to sell Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation Global Group, LLC, and they have officially agreed to sign the deal. Furthermore, the deal will be paid in cash at closing.
Funimation wrote on their website “Fans win!”, and also:
“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,” said Colin Decker, CEO of Funimation Global Group. “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.”
*Note that Sony also owns the subsidiary anime production companies A-1 Pictures and CloverWorks through Aniplex.
Meanwhile, Crunchyroll wrote on their website:
“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.”
Parts from the official press release:
Tony Goncalves, the Chief Revenue Officer of WarnerMedia was also quoted. “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.”
On the other hand, Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said: “We are proud to bring Crunchyroll into the Sony family.” He added they have have a deep understanding of this global artform and are well-positioned to deliver outstanding content to audiences around the world: “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.”
It’s unclear what exactly this means for Crunchyroll. Until the deal for Funimation to acquire Crunchyroll closes, both platforms will continue to operate independently. We will likely learn more in the near future. For fans, we can just hope we really “won” and that this will improve the situation for streaming. At the moment, we still need multiple subscriptions to watch everything. Do we dare dream this will change with this acquisition? Time will tell…
You can also read our previous article here!