Soon, Funimation Will Be Sony's

Sony Pictures Television Networks has announced that it's going to acquire a major stake in popular anime distribution Funimation.

An agreement has been reached, but the deal has yet to to go through. Once it does, Variety reports that Sony will own a 95 per cent stake in Funimation.

"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.

Founded in 1995, Funimation has become one of North America's leading anime distributors.

You can read the full press release below:

SONY PICTURES TELEVISION NETWORKS TO ACQUIRE SUBSTANTIAL MAJORITY STAKE IN FUNIMATION

Culver City, Calif., July 31, 2017 -- Sony Pictures Television Networks has reached an agreement to acquire a substantial majority stake in Japanese anime distributor Funimation Productions, Ltd., ("Funimation"), subject to regulatory approvals and certain other closing conditions, valuing the company at approximately $US150 ($188) 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", "One Piece", "My Hero Academia" and "Attack on Titan", Funimation licenses and distributes Japanese anime content in the U.S., 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."

Outgoing Chairman of Funimation, John A Kuelbs, and lead investor, Doug Deason, said, "Funimation experienced tremendous growth and success since 2011. We believe Sony, Gen and his team are uniquely positioned to lead Funimation and its fans into an exciting and entertaining future."

Sony Pictures Television Networks' ANIMAX network is a multi-platform provider of Japanese anime content currently operating in 23 countries, including Japan.

Sony Pictures Television Networks operates established linear channel brands including AXN, Sony Channel, and ANIMAX, and digital brands including CRACKLE around the world, AXN Now in Europe and Asia, and Sony LIV in India.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Funimation along with Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP acting as exclusive legal advisor. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as legal advisor to Sony Pictures Television Networks.

About Sony Pictures Television Networks

Sony Pictures Television Networks operates branded entertainment channels reaching nearly two billion subscribers around the world. Based in Culver City, Amsterdam, Budapest, London, Madrid, Miami, Milan, Moscow, Mumbai, Munich, Singapore and Tokyo, Sony's linear and digital networks offer high quality film and television content from Sony Pictures and third-parties, as well as original content commissioned globally and locally. Sony Pictures Television Networks is a division of Sony Pictures Television Inc., a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.

About Funimation

Funimation is the #1 English-language anime content provider in North America, which licenses, adapts and distributes anime content from Japanese rights holders internationally. Its catalogue includes over 10,000 hours of content with rights to over 450 brands and provides dubbed and subbed anime across multiple channels. FunimationNOW, the Company's streaming platform, is the leading North American English-language OTT anime platform.


Comments

    Funimation only became the leading anime distributor in the US because they managed to keep a toehold when everyone else went belly-up after the bubble burst (largely as a result of ADV and Geneon flooding the market with utter crap that would never sell).

    Living over here now, I hope this leads to better film distribution in the US. It was a complete pain to find sessions for Your Name, and that film was huge. Good luck trying to see anything more niche than that in a Cinema that isn't awful. Fingers crossed that it also opens the way for better film dubs too.

      I enjoyed a some of Geneon's catalogue! RIP Geneon :p

        Oh absolutely, both companies put out a lot of quality releases. That wasn't really the problem. It wasn't releases like Haibane Renmei that tanked the industry in the early 00s, it was that they not only released utter trash like Yumeria, they went to the expense of dubbing it.

          I remember picking up the first volume of 'Human Crossing' from Geneon and scratching my head why they ever thought something that mediocre would find an audience, back in the days of three to four eps on a disc releases too.

            Yeah. There's a lot of stuff that'd be okay for an idle watch on a streaming service nowadays, but putting the effort into dubbing it and then releasing it on disc seems ludicrous. But that whole Geneon/ADV era was before streaming. I think they often looked at download volume for fansubs, not realizing that when the thing is free people don't really care if it's bad.

    Hopefully now we can get an Oz PS4 app so I don't have to keep logging into my US profile.

    Well shit, so much for FUNimation, AniméLab and CrunchyRoll's continued co-operation.

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