Written by: Nicole Castro
Published on: August 10, 2021 at 14:41 PHT (GMT+8)
An official press release by Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. reports they have completed the acquisition of AT&T’s Crunchyroll anime streaming service through Funimation Global Group, LLC. The agreement was first announced in December 2020. The purchase price was 1.175 billion USD, and the proceeds were paid in cash at closing.
AT&T expects to use the proceeds from this transaction to help support its debt reduction efforts, with plans to reach a net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA of below 2.5x by year-end 2023.
Note: The net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is a debt ratio that shows how many years it would take for a company to pay back its debt if net debt and EBITDA are held constant (Definition by Investopedia).
At the time of this writing, the announcement has not revealed in detail how this merge would affect subscription costs for users. Crunchyroll's own announcement reads,
"The two brands you know and love will be working together, and we believe this is a great thing for fans and the industry, alike! Both teams are knowledgeable, passionate, and have been committed to the anime community for decades. We couldn’t ask for better partners. We know you may have questions! Today we begin the work of bringing two awesome teams together to bring you more of what you love. Thank you for your trust and support!"
Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra says,
"Crunchyroll adds tremendous value to Sony's existing anime businesses, including Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan. With the addition of Crunchyroll, we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve anime fans like never before and deliver the anime experience across any platform they choose from theatrical, events, home entertainment, games, streaming, linear TV—everywhere and every way fans want to experience their anime. Our goal is to create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible."
Crunchyroll is a premier anime direct-to-consumer service with 5 million SVOD (Subscription video on demand) subscribers and growing. It serves 120 million registered users across more than 200 countries and territories offering AVOD (Advertising-based video on demand), mobile games, manga, events merchandise, and distribution. The merger deal provides the opportunity for Crunchyroll and Funimation to broaden distribution for their content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers.
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services, and technologies.
Funimation is an independently operated joint venture between U.S.-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
Funimation’s streaming services offer a growing catalog of over 700 anime series and 13,000+ hours of content available on 15 platforms and in 49 countries.