Crunchyroll told TheWrap it wouldn’t comment on “speculation” and neither confirmed nor denied reports of the sale negotiations.
A potential deal with Sony was first reported in August, and at that time was estimated by The Information to be worth roughly $1.5 billion. Sony is reportedly ready to pay $957 million on the streaming site, which has over 70 million members and 3 million paying subscribers globally. Crunchyroll content is now available to stream in over 200 countries.
Sony already owns an anime streaming service — Funimation, which it bought in 2017. Funimation boasts roughly 1 million paying subscribers but has failed to achieve as wide a reach as Crunchyroll, and Sony is likely looking to diversify its content in addition to buying new users.
Crunchyroll is currently owned by AT&T which is looking to now unload it — and other valuable assets — to pare down debt.
Crunchyroll launched in 2006 and was acquired by Otter Media in 2013 in a deal that funding database PitchBook Data Inc. estimated valued Crunchyroll at over $100 million. Otter, a joint video venture created by AT&T and Peter Chernin, became a full AT&T subsidiary two years ago.