Funimation, a leading distributor of anime in North America, is to be acquired by Sony Pictures Television for $143 million.
According to a report by Deadline, Sony Pictures TV is set to purchase 95 percent of the $150 million that Funimation is worth. Gen Fukunaga, CEO of Funimation, will remain in his current position and retain a small stake in the company.
Fukunaga stated: “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.”
Sony’s acquisition grants them a long list of licenses for incredibly popular anime. Among them are Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Attack on Titan, Cowboy Bebop and My Hero Academia.
These add to the equally popular anime they get from Aniplex and A-1 Pictures. Productions such as Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online and Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood adds to the list of heavy hitters.
Funimation’s recent partnership with Crunchyroll allowed for the two to split responsibilities between dubbed and subbed anime.
Funimation currently simulcasts the dub and Crunchyroll, the sub. It’s unclear how this new development will affect their partnership.
Also, Sony may very well take advantage of this acquisition by removing the Funimation app from the Xbox Store. While that does seem to line up with their persona of not playing well with others, it would be bad for business.
Only time will tell what this means for the anime industry.