Sony Corp. is wrapping up talks with AT&T to acquire U.S. animation-streaming service Crunchyroll in a mega deal worth more than 100 billion yen ($957 million), according to reports from Japanese newspaper Nikkei Business Daily.
Should the deal push through, Sony will gain more than a thousand anime and drama titles as well as access to Crunchyroll’s 70 million members worldwide.
At the moment, Sony has exclusive negotiation rights and wants to use Crunchyroll to “distribute its own entertainment content, including films and music.” With this, the Japanese entertainment and electronics conglomerate can compete better with Netflix and other global rivals, Nikkei reported.
Back in 2017, Sony Pictures Television paid $143 million for 95 percent stake in Funimation Productions Ltd., an animation distributor with more than one million paying subscribers.
The Japanese entertainment giant also owns Aniplex Inc. and other international licensing companies such as Wakanim and Madman Anime Group.
The acquisition of Crunchyroll is part of Sony chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida’s strategy to beef up its gaming and entertainment businesses to increase recurring revenue streams in order to cushion the impact of volatile hardware sales cycles.