WarnerMedia wants to download Crunchyroll, its anime subscription streaming service – with a asking price of at least $ 1 billion – because parent company AT&T is trying to pay off debts, sources say Amount. One of the potential buyers is Sony Pictures Entertainment, which operates the competing Funimation service.
WarnerMedia’s move to sell Crunchyroll was previously reported by The Information, which said the media company wanted $ 1.5 billion for the streamer. But a source familiar with WarnerMedia’s plans said it was much higher than the company expects to get for Crunchyroll, which is outsourced to additional buyers in addition to Sony.
Reps for WarnerMedia, Crunchyroll and Sony Pictures Entertainment declined to comment.
Two weeks ago, Crunchyroll announced that it surpassed 3 million paying subscribers worldwide and has more than 70 million registered users. In the United States, the service without a subscription section on the service is $ 7.99 per month and includes simulations of Japanese anime programs as soon as one hour after they are broadcast in the country.
Crunchyroll currently has more than 1
Crunchyroll is part of WarnerMedia’s Otter Media division, which also includes rooster teeth, full screen, VRV and interests in Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and studio Gunpowder & Sky. (Telco bought out Chernin Group’s majority stake in Otter 2018.)
For the past two years, AT&T has strategically sold assets to reduce the debt burden. Last year, for example, AT&T sold its 10% stake in Hulu for $ 1.43 billion. At the end of June, the company reported $ 153.4 billion in long-term debt, much of which was raised from the Time Warner deal.
Crunchyroll was founded in 2006 and is currently led by General Manager Joanne Waage. She took over for co-founder and former GM Kun Gao at the end of 2018.
Earlier this year, Crunchyroll announced its inaugural slate with original, with 12 total series announced so far. The first two originals “Tower of God”, a Crunchyroll and Webtoon Production and “The God of High School”, both set new viewing records on the platform, according to Otter Media.
At the end of 2019, Crunchyroll closed the majority acquisition of Viz Media Europe Group and expanded its suite of consumer brands to include streaming services Anime Digital Network (in collaboration with Citel, a subsidiary of Média-Participations) and Anime on Demand, DVD and manga publisher KAZÉ, and live-action content seller Eye See Movies. Crunchyroll also hosts events (including owned events Crunchyroll Expo, Anime Awards, Crunchyroll Movie Nights and KAZÉ Anime Nights), offers a range of consumer products, runs Crunchyroll Games and sells manga titles.
Funimation and Crunchyroll previously had an agreement to cross-license content (under which Crunchyroll had offered subtitled versions and Funimation provided duplicate versions of the same show). But Sony, which bought Funimation 2017, closed that deal in 2018. Funimation is now an independently run joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.