I just felt a great disturbance in the anime world. Leading anime video-streaming service Crunchyroll is merging with rival streaming platform Funimation in a deal worth $1.175 billion.
Crunchyroll is jumping from one international media empire to another. The service has been a part of AT&T (NYSE:T) subsidiary WarnerMedia since 2018. The proposed deal, announced on Wednesday, will merge the service with Funimation, which joined the Sony (NYSE:SONY) media conglomerate in 2017.
Crunchyroll and Funimation have worked together before, but that partnership ended when each service came under the control of competing movie studios. The merger will bring the leading anime content brands together, with Crunchyroll operating as a part of Sony's Funimation business. Sony plans to pay $1.175 billion in cash when the merger has gone through the customary gauntlet of regulatory reviews and standard closing conditions. Both services have offices around the world but are headquartered in the U.S., which should simplify the regulatory approval process.
"Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere," Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in a prepared statement. "Funimation has been doing this for over 25 years, and we look forward to continuing to leverage the power of creativity and technology to succeed in this rapidly growing segment of entertainment."
Crunchyroll brings 3 million paying subscribers and 90 million registered users of the ad-supported content service. The combined anime services also have access to Sony's global network of broadcast partners. The two brands will continue to operate as separate services, though Sony may choose to roll them into one at some point.