Sony Takes Majority Stake in Funimation


Sony Pictures Television Networks is acquiring a majority stake in Japanese anime distributor Funimation Productions, with the deal subject to certain closing conditions and valuing the company at approximately $150 million.

Funimation licenses and distributes Japanese anime content in the U.S., operates the subscription streaming service FunimationNOW and sells various products, including DVDs, on its website. The company’s catalog includes such titles as Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan. With the acquisition, Gen Fukunaga, the CEO of Funimation, will retain a minority stake in the business and remain CEO.

Andy Kaplan, the president of worldwide networks at Sony Pictures Television, remarked: “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. 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.”

Fukunaga noted: “With Funimation’s long-established leadership position in anime and Sony’s direct access to the creative pipeline in Japan, it will be a great partnership to take Funimation to the next level.”

John A. Kuelbs, outgoing chairman of Funimation, and Doug Deason, lead investor, added: “Funimation experienced tremendous growth and success since 2011. We believe Sony, Gen and his team are uniquely positioned to lead Funimation and its fans into an exciting and entertaining future.”