Sony is in the final stages of buying the anime streaming service Crunchyroll from AT&T for over $957 million. We first shared a report from The Information that Sony and AT&T were in talks about the sale of Crunchyroll in August when AT&T was asking for $1.5 billion for the service.
Sony purchased Funimation Products Ltd, another US-based anime streamer, in 2017. With over 70 million global members, the addition of Crunchyroll would allow Sony to compete with Netflix and other major names in streaming, according to a report from Reuters about the deal.
We have an active and growing AVOD community of over 70 million registered users,” said Joanne Waage, General Manager, Crunchyroll, when the company shared its subscriber numbers in July. “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.”
Reuters reports that Sony is focusing on its gaming and entertainment businesses to offset lower hardware sales. For AT&T, the sale of Crunchyroll would be another way to lower the company’s debt load. AT&T started 2019 with $180 billion in debt and has been selling assets to lower the number. The company is reportedly in talks to sell DirecTV and stands to lose billions in the deal.