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Sony Pictures to purchase majority stake in Funimation

Sony Pictures to purchase majority stake in Funimation
Ross Liversidge
Author: Ross Liversidge

Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995, and following Andy Hanley's retirement has returned to the post of Editor-in-Chief in 2017. What an old man!

It should be no surprise that a Japanese company should understand the value of anime, so the breaking news that Sony are acquiring the majority stake in anime distributor Funimation shouldn't be a shock.

Bloomberg reported back in May that Sony were considering a move on Funimation, alongside Universal studio. Where the latter decided against making a bid, Sony has now moved forward to acquired the shares.

Bloomberg noted that the DVD box set of Dragonball Z sells for $231, compared to $55 for a series like Seinfeld, so the allure is clear in a shrinking DVD retail market.

Funimation's catalogue includes hits such as Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, Attack on Titan and the incredible theatrical release, Your Name (our review here).

Sony operate both TV station Animax and the streaming service Crackle, so will be aware of the attraction of Funimation's catalogue and the anime market in general.

The agreement values Funimation at US $150 million, and the agreement is to purchase 95% of the company for US $143 million according to Deadline and Variety. The current Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga will retain his position and a minority stake in the company.

How this will affect UK distributors is unkown at this stage. 

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