Interesting news in the business side of anime streaming services today! The television division of Sony Pictures, Sony Pictures TV, announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake holding in anime distributing and streaming service FUNimation. While the announcement specifically notes that the agreement is still subject to regulatory approvals as well as other nondescript closing conditions, it sounds likely that Sony Pictures is now going to have control over the future of FUNimation. Also noted are the facts that FUNimation is valued at $150 million USD as well as the fact that FUNimation CEO Gen Fukunaga will be retaining hi9s position and continue to hold a minority stake in the company.
According to both Variety and Deadline the stake is estimated to be 95 percent of the company’s value, which comes out to a price of about $143 million USD. While the news of the acquisition may be surprising to some, there have been whispers about such an event for months now. According to Bloomberg, Sony showed interest in purchasing FUNimation back in May alongside Comcast’s Universal film division.
In an official statement on the Sony Pictures website today, Andy Kaplan, President of Worldwide Networks at Sony Pictures Television, stated:
Around the world, Sony’s networks have been major players in the anime space for nearly two decades, and in more recent years we have rapidly increased our networks’ over-the-top and digital offerings to consumers. With the acquisition of Funimation, the combined IP of Animax, Kids Station and Funimation allows us to deliver the best anime to fans across all screens and platforms. With Funimation’s long-established leadership position in anime and Sony’s direct access to the creative pipeline in Japan, it will be a great partnership to take Funimation to the next level.
Sony Pictures TV will now have access to the catalog of FUNimation, which includes massively popular series including Attack on Titan, Cowboy Bebop, Dragonball Z, My Hero Academia, and One Piece. Considering that fact as well as the partnership that was formed between Crunchyroll and FUNimation last year, it’s possible that we are due for some interesting developments in the anime streaming and distribution business. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see if this deal goes through, but let us know if you have any thoughts!Tweet