Sony Pictures Entertainment has completed its acquisition of WarnerMedia’s anime streaming platform Crunchyroll for £850m ($1.18bn).
Sony has acquired the SVoD from WarnerMedia parent company AT&T through its anime firm Funimation Global Group – a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment subsidiary Aniplex.
Crunchyroll has 5m subscribers and 120m registered users globally, with a broad media and entertainment focus that includes AVoD (ad-based video on demand), mobile gaming, events, merchandise and distribution.
Following the deal, Crunchyroll will expand distribution and its content offering.
Last year, its global partnerships and content strategy chief Alden Budill told Screen’s sister publication Broadcast its was eyeing up the UK for creators of anime series.
Crunchyroll has subsequently inked a deal with Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures and Pink Towel Pictures, run by Elba’s wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba, for a sci-fi animated thriller.
The acquisition is the climax of a process that began in February this year, and is subject to customary procedures. AT&T will use the proceeds to aid its debt reduction.
Sony Group Corporation chairman Kenichiro Yoshida said: “Anime is a rapidly growing medium that enthralls and inspires emotion among audiences around the globe.
“The alignment of Crunchyroll and Funimation will enable us to get even closer to the creators and fans who are the heart of the anime community.”
SPE chief exec Tony Vinciquerra added: “With Crunchyroll and Funimation, we are committed to creating the ultimate anime experience for fans and presenting a unique opportunity for our key partners, publishers, and creators to continue to deliver their masterful content to audiences around the world.”
This article originally appeared in Screen’s sister publication Broadcast.