Changes are coming to Funimation, anime fans. Earlier today, news confirmed the anime distributor reached a deal with Sony Pictures TV, and the latter has agreed to acquire Funimation for several pretty pennies.
Deadline broke the news about Funimation’s acquisition not too long ago. According to the site's report, the anime company will be subsumed by Sony Pictures TV since the latter has agreed to purchase 95% of Funimation’s stock for $143 million. Sony assessed the company's worth to be a staggering $150 million total, and the company seems ready to explore the anime market as this acquisition moves forward.
Over at Funimation, the company shouldn’t have too many shake-ups internally in the wake of the buy-out. Gen Fukunaga will remain the CEO and retain a small stake in Funmation.
After the company's acquisition news went public, Fukunaga released a statement that can be read here: “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.”
This is not Sony’s first dive into anime. The company already owns Aniplex, an anime production company which subsidizes A-1 Pictures (Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online). Still, the acquisition of Funimation stresses the lucrative nature of anime’s distribution points. The company is poised to gain rights to Funimation’s extensive library which includes Dragon Ball, One Piece, Attack on Titan, and more.
“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,” Andy Kaplan said, the president of worldwide networks at Sony Television.
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For now, there is no word on how the Sony’s acquisition of Funimation may change the distributor’s releases, but fans are hoping any transition will be done smoothly. Funimation acts as the biggest gateway for anime into the U.S, leaving many fans dependent on the company to come through with otaku goodies. If Sony were to mess that flow up somehow, anime fans will surely let their frustrations be heard.