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It Happened: Sony Just Ate Crunchyroll

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It’s a done deal, whether you like it or not. AT&T, current owners of the anime streaming service Crunchyroll, WILL be selling the whole thing to Sony. The price of the deal was $1.175 billion in cash and according to Variety, Crunchyroll and Funimation (which Sony already owns) will very likely become one and the same, though we have no idea if one will take on the name of the other.

We got here in three steps:

  • 2018: Warner Bros. purchases Crunchyroll
  • 2019: AT&T purchases Warner Bros
  • 2020: AT&T has no interest in Crunchyroll, Sony purchases Crunchyroll
  • 2021: Dinosaur eats man, woman inherits the earth

The whole saga took place over just two years. But within those two years, Crunchyroll was able to strike a deal with Adult Swim to become partners in a suite of exclusive anime productions. These include a series based in the Blade Runner universe, one based on Sega’s Shenmue games, and Pirate Princess, an original production. There might even be one based on Junji Ito’s horror classic Spiral, assuming we ever hear trace of it again.

You might be worried about the fate of those shows now, but Toonami head Jason DeMarco says all is cool:

Even if the contracts could be changed in any way, Toonami already licenses a lot of content from Sony through Funimation. So…no issues, we’ll get that Blade Runner show eventually.

“We are proud to bring Crunchyroll into the Sony family,” says Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Through Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan, we have a deep understanding of this global artform and are well-positioned to deliver outstanding content to audiences around the world. Together with Crunchyroll, we will create the best possible experience for fans and greater opportunity for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and elsewhere.”

The amount AT&T ended up getting from the Crunchyroll sale was lower than the $1.5 billion they wanted when negotiations started, but it’s higher than the $985 billion they were more recently rumored on settling for. They’re doing this mainly to pay off debts from buying WB, and originally considered selling off WB Games as well, but ultimately decided that division was too valuable to lose.