A report from earlier in May details that Crunchyroll parent company AT&T had discussions to sell the anime streaming company to Sony, the parent company of rival anime streaming service Funimation.
The report from The Information details that “AT&T’s WarnerMedia has had discussions about selling a Crunchyroll.” They speculate that the reason for possibly selling the company might have been to reduce debt.
The company had been under pressure from shareholder Elliot Management to reduce their debt over the past year, but reportedly cut a deal with Elliott Management back in October.
YouTuber Clownfish TV details the report indicates that one of the possible buyers would have been Sony.
However, The Information does note that the current coronavirus pandemic might have slowed down their sale efforts and that no active negotiations to sell Crunchyroll were currently in place.
They also believe that plans to sell the company might have also changed with WarnerMedia’s new CEO Jason Kilar stepping into the role. Kilar previously worked at Hulu and The Information’s report insinuates that anime was a key pillar at Hulu, one that Kilar hopes to replicate with WarnerMedia’s upcoming new streaming service HBO Max.
HBO Max and Crunchyroll recently announced that a number of animes available on Crunchyroll would also be available on HBO Max when the streaming service launches later this month. Some of those anime include the wildly popular Full Metal Alchemist. Along with Full Metal Alchemist 16 other anime titles will be available on the streaming service.
Among those 17 titles includes the Crunchyroll Original In/Spectre.
Crunchyroll also promises they will “curate additional top anime titles for HBO Max each quarter, cultivating fresh offerings that appeal to new and existing anime fans including Hunter x Hunter and Death Note coming to the streamer within the first year of launch.”
HBO Max’s Chief Content Officer Kevin Reilly also praised anime in general, “Anime is a celebrated, diverse art form with a rich culture rooted in imaginative worlds and vibrant characters. Crunchyroll has centralized these fantastic adventures for everyone to enjoy.”
Not only are they going to be receiving anime from Crunchyroll, but HBO Max will also feature Studio Ghibli movies including Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
Clownfish TV’s Kneon speculates that Crunchyroll could be phased out and become wholly part of HBO Max, “So we are starting to get a bigger picture of what’s going on here. So it might be the new CEO who realizes that Hulu does do really well with anime. He might be like, ‘Stop! Stop it. We are not going to sell it off, but we might just fold the anime into HBO Max.'”
What do you make of this report? What do you think the future holds for Crunchyroll?