Nikkei Asia has reported that Sony has entered into final negotiations to acquire Crunchyroll. The website reported that Sony “could end up spending more than 100 billion yen ($957 million).” Sony had reportedly previously gained the exclusive right to negotiate for Crunchyroll.
The technology website The Information reported in August 2020 that AT&T offered Crunchyroll to Sony for US$1.5 billion. The Information stated then that Sony reportedly “balked at” the price, which effectively values the streaming service at US$500 per subscriber. Entertainment news source Variety then reported a few days later that AT&T had set an asking price of at least US$1 billion for its sale of Crunchyroll. Variety stated that AT&T was shopping the company to multiple potential buyers aside from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
If Sony acquires Crunchyroll, this could create a complicated situation for North American anime fans. Sony has already acquired FUNimation Entertainment, so what will happen if they acquire Crunchyroll as well? Would they merge the two entities? Would they continue to run both as separate entities? And what effects will this have on anime streaming in North America?