Sony Pictures Television Networks is increasing its footprint in the anime space, with a deal to pay $143 million for 95% of Japanese anime distributor Funimation Productions. Its catalog includes such popular titles as Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan.
The agreement that values the company at about $150 million is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga will retain a minority stake in the business and remain in his post.
Funimation licenses and distributes Japanese anime content in the U.S., and operates the subscription streaming service FunimationNow. The company also sells merchandise and DVDs through its website.
“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,” said Andy Kaplan, President of Worldwide Networks at Sony Pictures Television.
Added Fukunaga: “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.”