Sony has purchased a 95 per cent stake in anime distributor Funimation for $143 million, essentially acquiring the company. The remaining five per cent will be retained by current CEO Gen Fukunaga, who will continue to serve in his current role despite the takeover. In addition to selling DVDs and merchandise, Funimation recently launched a streaming service, offering over 400 favourites like Dragon Ball Z and Cowboy Bebop on-demand.
Of course, this isn’t Sony’s first foray into the world of anime: it also owns and operates the ANIMAX network, which airs in 23 countries around the globe. It’ll be interesting to see whether it tries to combine the brands in order to create some kind of ultimate anime destination – or if it will continue to operate them independently.
“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,” said Sony Pictures Television’s Andy Kaplan. “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.”