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Sony Inks $1.2B Deal To Acquire AT&T's Anime Unit Crunchyroll

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Sony Corp (NYSE: SNE) has inked a deal to buy AT&T Inc’s (NYSE: T) anime video streaming subsidiary Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion in cash consideration. A definite agreement has been signed by Sony Funimation Global Group LLC to acquire a 100% stake in AT&T’s Ellation Holdings.

What Happened: The acquisition will allow Sony to grow its content library by including the Japanese anime movies and TV shows, as AT&T remains focused on its HBO MAX offering in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.

Crunchyroll is part of the AT&T WarnerMedia unit, offering a direct-to-customer service. Crunchyroll in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it caters to over three million users for its subscription video on demand (SVOD) content.

Almost 90 million registered Crunchyroll users access its advertising-based video on demand (AVOD), manga content, mobile games, and events, it said.

Funimation was created as a joint venture between Aniplex Inc, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc, and Sony Pictures Enteainment Inc.

Why Does It Matter: As part of the deal, Sony will also absorb Crunchyroll’s 500 employees post-acquisition.

The current sale is part of the telecom giant’s plan to reshape its business focus, the Journal noted.

"Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere," Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in a statement.

"Funimation has been doing this for over 25 years and we look forward to continuing to leverage the power of creativity and technology to succeed in this rapidly growing segment of entertainment.”

In October, AT&T disclosed the receipt of $1.1 billion in cash for its stake in the European broadcasting company — Central European Media Enterprises Ltd.

Price Action: On Wednesday, Sony shares closed at $94.13, 0.82% higher, and AT&T stock closed 2.11% higher at $31.46

Photo courtesy: VeganTylor via Wikimedia

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