How a Barnes & Noble Earnings Report Spurred AMC Networks’ Acquisition of Anime Distributor Sentai

“I’ve never been a fan, but there’s a tremendous following for it,” AMC’s interim CEO Matt Blank says

Sometimes media-company acquisitions come from places you’d never look: in the graphic novels section of a Barnes & Noble. That was the case, at least in part, for AMC Networks’ recent acquisition of anime distributor and HIDIVE home Sentai.

“Literally in my first week on the job back in September, I was presented with this opportunity. The folks here were well into their discussions and putting that transaction together,” AMC Networks interim CEO Matt Blank said on Wednesday. “About two weeks later, there was a Wall Street Journal story, I think, about Barnes & Noble earnings and surprises in their store traffic. The article pointed out it was driven by two things: graphic novels and [anime] books. And I said, wow, this is a category I don’t know much about.”

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Tony Maglio

TV Editor • tony.maglio@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tonymaglio