Sony Pictures Television Networks has reached an agreement to acquire a substantial majority stake in Japanese anime distributor Funimation, subject to regulatory approvals and certain other closing conditions, valuing the company at approximately $150 million. Gen Fukunaga, CEO of Funimation, will retain a minority stake in the business and remain CEO.
With a catalogue that includes popular titles such as Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, and Attack on Titan, Funimation licenses and distributes Japanese anime content in the US, and operates the subscription streaming service FunimationNOW, available via the PlayStation Store, iTunes Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps, Xbox Store and mobile devices. Additionally, the company sells merchandise and DVDs through its website, Funimation.com.
“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,” said Andy Kaplan, President, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television.
Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga added, “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.”