Sony Pictures Television Networks has recently reached an agreement that will see them acquire a significant majority stake in anime distributor Funimation Productions, Ltd. Barring any problems with regulatory approvals and closing conditions, the company is estimated to be valued at $150 million. Funimation’s current CEO Gen Fukunaga will retain his position and will still have a minority stake in the business.
FUNimation is of course in possession of a rich catalog of properties that include globally popular franchises such as Cowboy Bebop, My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, among others. The company serves as licensor and distributor of these popular Japanese properties in the US, and is also operating a subscription-based streaming service called FUNimationNOW, which is already available on a wide variety of platforms and devices. FUNimation also use their website, FUNimation.com to sell DVDs and various merchandise.
“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, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television.
Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga added, “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.”
Outgoing Chairman of Funimation, John A Kuelbs, and lead investor, Doug Deason, said, “Funimation experienced tremendous growth and success since 2011. We believe Sony, Gen and his team are uniquely positioned to lead Funimation and its fans into an exciting and entertaining future.”