On Thursday, in a statement Sony Corp and AT&T Inc’s animation business Crunchyroll stated, the former will purchase the latter for $1.175 billion. The development sees Sony aiming to boost its entertainment content and distribution businesses.
The deal will provide Sony access to Crunchyroll’s 3 million paying subscribers across more than 200 countries and regions, and help will gain traction globally so as to enable it to better compete with entertainment giants such as Netflix.
Sony’s Funimation Global Group, a U.S. animation distributor with 1 million paying subscribers, will own Crunchyroll, currently part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia segment.
Ever since AT&T’s CEO John Stankey came to the helm, the telecom giant has been looking to monetize its non-core assets with the latest deal allowing it to focus on other areas of content creation including gaming.
According to a source, despite Crunchyroll’s loyal following among anime fans, AT&T was of the opinion that the anime streaming service was too niche for the broader audience its streaming service HBO Max wants to pursue.
In a statement Sony said, the proceeds will be paid in cash.
Under Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony is boosting its entertainment and gaming businesses in order to create strategic recurring revenue streams that cushion the impact of volatile hardware sales cycles. The animation business has been thriving recently on the record-breaking success of the Japanese animated film “Demon Slayer” – co-distributed by Sony’s music unit Aniplex Inc. The movie will be heading to the United States in early 2021 and will be distributed by Funimation.