Sony's Acquisition of Crunchyroll Hits Federal Roadblock

It wasn't too long ago fans learned Sony was eager to bring Crunchyroll into its growing portfolio of anime services. It was announced the parent company behind Funimation agreed to buy Crunchyroll from AT&T for a hefty price, but the acquisition has yet to pass. After all, a good amount of red tape had to be squared away, and it seems the deal just hit another federal roadblock.

As reported by The Information, the U.S. Justice Department has opted to extend its antitrust review of the proposed acquisition. The new report confirms this extension was given to allow the review more time to decide whether Sony would gain an unfair dominance over the anime industry stateside. At this time, there is no word on how the report has gone so far, but this extension will keep the acquisition up in the air for months to come. And if the results aren't great, it could kill the project entirely.

Funimation Crunchyroll
(Photo: Sony Pictures)

Currently, attorneys for the Justice Department are reviewing the deal to see how the acquisition will impact Japanese studios. The merger may limit those studios in how they can distribute shows to U.S. audiences. The Information suggests this extension will likely take at least six months to finish, and an unfavorable ruling could prompt the Justice Department into a lawsuit to stop the acquisition.

So far, it seems fans are on the fence about the acquisition as they agree the merge will help bring more anime to fans far more easily. But as history tells us, monopolies aren't something to celebrate. If Sony's deal is able to avoid such a label, then there should be little to prevent it from moving forward. That is, except for a few months' time.

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What do you make of this latest acquisition update? Do you have a problem with these companies merging? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.