Crunchyroll might soon have a new corporate master to serve!
Earlier this year, it was reported by various outlets that negotiations had begun for the sale of Crunchyroll to a new owner, as AT&T was looking to unload the service. At the time, AT&T offered the anime streaming service to Sony for $1.5 billion, which valued each subscriber at around $500. Sony reportedly “balked” at this asking price, and the story disappeared into the mist that is the internet. Apparently, however, negotiations have quietly continued as it’s now being reported that Sony has entered the final round of negotiations to purchase Crunchyroll for nearly $1 billion USD. That’s not a typo.
It’s also worth noting that Sony already has controlling stakes in multiple anime streaming companies around the world: Funimation based in the United States, Wakanim based in France, and Madman Anime Group based in Australia. This means that Sony would be one of the most powerful anime companies in the world. While negotiations could always go south at the very last second because someone forgot to dot an I, this appears to be pretty close to a done deal.
Some of you out there have always had access to Crunchyroll and take the access it gives you for granted, but it’s actually not that old of a company. Started in the mid-00s, Crunchyroll actually started as a site that hosted many unauthorized anime uploads, which generated a huge audience from around the world. In 2008, the site received over $4 million USD in funding from Venrock, which the site used to go legit and legally acquire the streaming rights to anime thus was born the seasonal simulcast.
What Sony intends to do with Crunchyroll should they gain the streaming giant remains to be seen, but should this deal go through, it’ll prove to be one of the most interesting stories to follow throughout the coming new decade.