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Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funimation

Old 07-31-17, 08:50 PM
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Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funimation

http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/pre...unimation.html
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SONY PICTURES TELEVISION NETWORKS TO ACQUIRE SUBSTANTIAL MAJORITY STAKE IN FUNIMATION

Culver City, Calif., July 31, 2017 - Sony Pictures Television Networks has reached an agreement to acquire a substantial majority stake in Japanese anime distributor Funimation Productions, Ltd., ("Funimation"), subject to regulatory approvals and certain other closing conditions, valuing the company at approximately $150 million. Gen Fukunaga, CEO of Funimation, will retain a minority stake in the business and remain CEO.

With a catalog that includes popular titles such as "Dragon Ball Z", "Cowboy Bebop", "One Piece", "My Hero Academia" and "Attack on Titan", Funimation licenses and distributes Japanese anime content in the U.S., and operates the subscription streaming service FunimationNOW, available via the PlayStation Store, iTunes Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps, Xbox Store and mobile devices. Additionally, the company sells merchandise and DVDs through its website, Funimation.com.

"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," said Andy Kaplan, President, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television.

Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga added, "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."

Outgoing Chairman of Funimation, John A Kuelbs, and lead investor, Doug Deason, said, "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."

Sony Pictures Television Networks' ANIMAX network is a multi-platform provider of Japanese anime content currently operating in 23 countries, including Japan.

Sony Pictures Television Networks operates established linear channel brands including AXN, Sony Channel, and ANIMAX, and digital brands including CRACKLE around the world, AXN Now in Europe and Asia, and Sony LIV in India.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Funimation along with Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP acting as exclusive legal advisor. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as legal advisor to Sony Pictures Television Networks.
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Old 07-31-17, 09:20 PM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

https://www.funimation.com/blog/2017...ision-networks
Funimation Agrees To Be Acquired By Sony Pictures Television Networks

August 1, 2017 by Funimation

Founder Gen Fukunaga started Funimation with a vision and a mission to make anime as accessible as possible to fans across the world. In the 23 years since we began, we have been committed to creating anime experiences fans love: from bringing Dragon Ball to the U.S., to bringing the best anime to home video and theaters, to SimulDubs that bring episodes in English to fans within two weeks after they air in Japan, to the world’s largest dubbed streaming catalog on FunimationNow.

Today, we announced that Funimation has agreed to sell a substantial majority stake to Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN). SPTN is one of the preeminent names in entertainment, and shares our vision to deliver anime to fans globally across all screens and platforms.

We know you have questions and we’ve answered some of them below. We encourage you to read these answers and thank you for your support and for watching!


FAQ

Will the Funimation team change?

Currently, our plan is for Funimation to operate as it has to date. Gen will remain CEO, and the team will continue to deliver the best anime experiences we can to you.

Is this a partnership, merger, or an acquisition?

Funimation has agreed to sell a substantial majority stake to Sony Pictures Television Networks.

How is this acquisition related to Aniplex?

This transaction does not involve Aniplex.

What does this mean for your products and services?

Funimation remains committed to making our physical and digital products as accessible to fans as possible and we have no plans to change pricing and placement of our physical or digital product. FunimationNow will remain the same price and will be available in all of its current territories.

Will this delay the release of any content?

There will be no impact to our SimulDub, home video release or theatrical schedules.

Will this affect the production or quality of dubs coming from Funimation?

Funimation will always strive to honor the intent of the Japanese creators in our productions. There will be no changes to our translation, script writing, voice actors or production staff. We will be keeping our production facilities in Texas so we can continue to bring SimulDubs to you within two weeks of the Japanese broadcast date.

Does this mean Funimation will be buying more or less anime?

Funimation remains committed to bringing you the biggest and best English dubbed anime library, along with new seasons of SimulDubs within two weeks of their broadcast in Japan.

How does this affect my FunimationNow subscription?

The FunimationNow service remains the same – there will be no change in your subscription terms, pricing or content availability.

Does this mean Funimation content will be available on Crackle or Playstation Vue?

We have always tried to make our content accessible as widely as possible for our fans and will continue to do so. This does not change the FunimationNow service.

What does this mean for fans outside of the U.S.?

We are already delivering anime to fans in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand through FunimationNow. Service to these regions will not change because of this deal.
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Old 08-01-17, 03:28 AM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. it would be about a year i think before we notice any changes.

Last edited by chrisc31; 08-01-17 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 08-01-17, 02:37 PM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

There goes Funimation; in three years it will barely resemble the company as we've known it.

I understand why Sony wanted it. Anime is a lucrative consumer niche with a lot of cheaply available content. Sony saw Amazon getting into anime streaming and jumped on Funimation in response.

Sony as a Hollywood power has to enforce certain PC standards. Funimation will almost certainly now have less tolerance for some anime content once Sony starts putting in their executives.
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Old 08-01-17, 04:50 PM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

Seems a bit odd to me... I mean Sony still has a lot of clout in Japan and, as noted in the article, owns the Animax channel. Funimation is a licensor and you'd have to think getting bought out like this will affect current and future licenses that they can get. If Sony wanted why not just license stuff directly? I think the streaming platform Funimation has is a joint project with Sony anyway so it's not like they bought them for the platform or expertise.
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Old 08-01-17, 08:19 PM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

Funimation added this.
​​​​​​​
https://www.funimation.com/blog/2017...sion-networks/
Does this change your Crunchyroll/VRV partnership?

There are no changes to our existing partnership or to the content available from Funimation on either service. Crunchyroll will continue to broadcast subtitled simulcasts, and FunimationNow will continue to stream SimulDubs for most titles within two weeks after the shows original Japanese broadcast.
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Old 08-01-17, 08:26 PM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...ibutor-1025699
Sony Focusing on "Leveraging IP," Taking Over Anime Distributor

With 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' delivering the goods at the box office, Sony Corp. CFO Kenichiro Yoshida pointed to the potential of "hundreds of Marvel characters."
Sony Corp. management during its earnings press conference on Tuesday said it was focusing on "leveraging IP across the group" and, on the heels of the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming, noted there were "hundreds of Marvel characters."

The comments came after Sony Pictures Television Networks unveiled a deal to acquire a big majority stake in Funimation Productions, a U.S. distributor of Japanese anime. Sony will buy a 95 percent stake for $143 million in a deal valuing the entire company at approximately $150 million.

Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga will retain a minority stake and remain head of the company he founded, while John Kuelbs will leave his role as chairman.

Funimation's catalog includes such titles as Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan. The company also operates subscription streaming service FunimationNOW, which is available via Sony's PlayStation Store, iTunes Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps, Xbox Game Store and mobile devices. Funimation also sells merchandise and DVDs online.

"We have IP across Funimation, Aniplex, Animax and the PlayStation platform, the challenge is to connect them all organically," said CFO Kenichiro Yoshida during Sony's earnings announcement at its Tokyo headquarters. "CEO [Kaz] Hirai is taking stock of all the IP in the group and the PS4 will be at the center."

The acquisition of Funimation fits with Sony Pictures Television Networks’ Animax network that offers Japanese anime content and currently operates in 23 countries, including Japan.

“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," said Andy Kaplan, president, worldwide networks, Sony Pictures Television. "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."

Added Fukunaga: "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."

Following the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Yoshida pointed out that Spidey spinoff Venom is set for release next year and that "there are hundreds of Marvel characters; we will be proactively leveraging such IP going forward." It wasn't immediately clear if the company could license more Marvel characters or develop projects out of its own characters Marvel-style.
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Old 08-02-17, 11:17 PM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

Answerman
What Should We Expect from the Sony Pictures TV - Funimation Deal?
by Justin Sevakis, Aug 2nd 2017

http://4NN.cx/.119577
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Old 11-01-17, 06:51 PM
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Re: Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire substantial majority stake in Funima

Funimation reformatted the info/post again...

https://www.funimation.com/blog/2017...ision-networks
Funimation Agrees To Be Acquired By Sony Pictures Television Networks

August 1, 2017 by Funimation

Updated on October 27, 2017

It’s official. The deal has closed for Sony Pictures Television Networks to acquire Funimation — and we’re incredibly excited!

We’re still the Funimation you’ve known and grown up with, and now with the power of Sony, and with Gen at the helm, we have the opportunity to bring the best anime to even more fans across the world. We’ve updated our FAQs with more details below.

Thank you for watching!


Original post

Founder Gen Fukunaga started Funimation with a vision and a mission to make anime as accessible as possible to fans across the world. In the 23 years since we began, we have been committed to creating anime experiences fans love: from bringing Dragon Ball to the U.S., to bringing the best anime to home video and theaters, to SimulDubs that bring episodes in English to fans within two weeks after they air in Japan, to the world’s largest dubbed streaming catalog on FunimationNow.

Today, we announced that Funimation has agreed to sell a substantial majority stake to Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN). SPTN is one of the preeminent names in entertainment, and shares our vision to deliver anime to fans globally across all screens and platforms.

You can read additional details on the press release here.

We know you have questions and we’ve answered some of them below. We encourage you to read these answers and thank you for your support and for watching!


FAQ

How does Sony Pictures Television Networks’ acquisition change Funimation?

Funimation has been bringing the best anime to fans for over 23 years and has an expertise in identifying, licensing and distributing anime to our fans, through DVDs, theatrical screenings, and with our streaming service, FunimationNow. We have had a long-held mission to reach more fans with more anime, and now as part of the Sony family we can accelerate that mission through their global footprint of television networks and existing digital offerings. Sony’s networks have been major players in the anime space for nearly two decades in Japan and worldwide. As part of the Sony family, we are excited to have more options to reach more people.


Will the Funimation team change?

Currently, our plan is for Funimation to operate as it has to date. Gen will remain CEO, and the team will continue to deliver the best anime experiences we can to you.


Is this a partnership, merger, or an acquisition?

Funimation has agreed to sell a substantial majority stake to Sony Pictures Television Networks.


What does this mean for your products and services?

Funimation remains committed to making our physical and digital products as accessible to fans as possible and we have no plans to change pricing and placement of our physical or digital product. FunimationNow will remain the same price and will be available in all of its current territories.


Will this delay the release of any content?

There will be no impact to our SimulDub, home video release or theatrical schedules.


What will Sony’s level of involvement be as it pertains to administration, dubbing, distribution and pricing of Funimation anime?
Funimation will maintain control of the operational pieces of dubbing, distribution and pricing of our anime. We know our fans best and will continue to deliver what you love, however you like to watch. Where Sony can help us be more efficient and get anime to more people around the world across devices and countries, we will work together to make that happen and are excited about the opportunity that presents to both serve our fans, and introduce anime to a new audience.


How will this affect Funimation Films’ theatrical releases?

We know that many of our fans love the experience of watching anime in theaters. Sony has a robust theatrical business and we will explore ways to work in conjunction with the team. If you want more anime in more theaters, let us know. We’ll be listening for those requests!


Sony is a Japanese company. What value does that bring to Funimation?

Funimation is a leader in bringing anime to fans across the world. Sony will further strengthen Funimation’s leadership position with expanded and more direct access to anime creators and talent in Japan, the home of Anime.


Will this affect the production or quality of dubs coming from Funimation?

Funimation will always strive to honor the intent of the Japanese creators in our productions. There will be no changes to our translation, script writing, voice actors or production staff. We will be keeping our production facilities in Texas so we can continue to bring SimulDubs to you within two weeks of the Japanese broadcast date.


Does this mean Funimation will be buying more or less anime?

Funimation remains committed to bringing you the biggest and best English dubbed anime library, along with new seasons of SimulDubs within two weeks of their broadcast in Japan.


How does this affect my FunimationNow subscription?

The FunimationNow service remains the same – there will be no change in your subscription terms, pricing or content availability.


Will the Sony acquisition accelerate expansion of the FunimationNow service to new territories?

This is one of the reasons we are so excited about this deal and about becoming a part of the Sony family. We absolutely anticipate bringing more anime to more people around the world. In addition to the US, our streaming service, FunimationNow is available in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Sony has a global footprint in television and on digital platforms that will help us both with launching faster in more territories and with letting people know we exist when we do launch.


Will Sony be deciding how things are dubbed?

Sony values our years of expertise dubbing anime and understands that for over two decades, Funimation has been making anime accessible to a wide audience by delivering high quality dubs working with our talented voice actors and directors.


How will the acquisition by Sony effect Funimation’s business relationships? Specifically: Toonami, Universal, Aniplex & Crackle.

There are no current plans to make any changes to our relationships with any partners or vendors, but where we can, we will take a fresh look at what will benefit fans the most. If we plan on making any changes, you will hear from us first.

Does this change your Crunchyroll/VRV partnership?

There are no changes to our existing partnership or to the content available from Funimation on either service. Crunchyroll will continue to broadcast subtitled simulcasts, and FunimationNow will continue to stream SimulDubs for most titles within two weeks after the shows original Japanese broadcast.


Does this mean Funimation content will be available on Crackle or Playstation Vue?

We have always tried to make our content accessible as widely as possible for our fans and will continue to do so. This does not change the FunimationNow service.


How is this acquisition related to Aniplex?

This transaction does not involve Aniplex.


What does this mean for fans outside of the U.S.?

We are already delivering anime to fans in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand through FunimationNow. Service to these regions will not change because of this deal.
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