According to sources for The Information, AT&T is in talks to sell the anime streaming service Crunchyroll to Sony, with an asking price of $1.5 billion.
While Sony is reportedly unhappy with the high price tag, the addition of Crunchyroll to the company’s portfolio would solidify its position in anime streaming. Sony already owns Funimation, a competitor of Crunchyroll.
For AT&T, the sale would be made in an effort to bring down the company’s debt. AT&T started 2019 with $180 billion in debt and quickly began discussions about selling assets to bring that number down, including the sale of Game Show Network to Sony in November. The company has been facing pressure from investors to continue lowering debt, resulting in AT&T making a goal of selling off $10 billion in debt this year.
In July, Crunchyroll announced that it had reached 3 million subscribers and over 70 million registered users globally.
“Crunchyroll’s global growth has been incredible. We launched in 2006 and it took us about 10 years to hit one million subscribers. It took us only two years after that to break two million, and even less than that to hit three million subscribers where we are today. But, we don’t just measure success based on paying subscribers. We have an active and growing AVOD community of over 70 million registered users,” said Joanne Waage, General Manager, Crunchyroll. “Our goal has always been to grow the love of anime globally, and these numbers show our labor of love is paying off — and this is just the beginning.”
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