According three unnamed individuals, Sony is negotiating to buy Crunchyroll as a complement to its competing Funimation anime distribution platform.
The potential $1.5 billion price tag is “well above recent values for other niche streaming services,” The Information reported, noting that Sony has “balked” at paying that much for a service catering exclusively to anime fans.
A Crunchyroll spokesperson declined to comment on “speculation” about a potential sale; a Sony rep also declined to comment.
Crunchyroll, which launched in 2006, was acquired by Otter Media in 2013 in a deal that funding database PitchBook Data Inc. estimated to place a $100 million evaluation on the company. Otter, a joint video venture created by AT&T and Peter Chernin, became a full AT&T subsidiary two years ago.
AT&T and WarnerMedia are in the midst of cutting costs and selling assets to bring down mounting debt — in June, the company announced that Warner’s gaming division, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, was up for sale.
The company also began a round of layoffs on Aug. 10, cutting an estimated 600 staffers and three senior executives at Warner Bros. As WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar told TheWrap last week, “We have two international organizations today that are going to become one. These are not easy decisions, these are not performance-oriented decisions. And those will happen and you should expect to see (more) reductions.”