Gen Fukunaga, CEO of Funimation, will retain a minority stake in the business and remain CEO.
[dropcap size=small]L[/dropcap]ast week FUNimation announced that SONY “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.” Of course, this caught many people off guard and many were concerned. For the past 23 years FUNimation has been responsible for animes like Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan. In other words, FUNimation has been doing a really great job and with a new company like SONY now owning them many people are concerned that SONY will step in and screw things up. Luckily, it appears that SONY is going to continue to let FUNimation run the show.
“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.”
In response to Andy Kaplan’s statement Gen Fukunaga said, “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.” Overall, it appears FUNimation is going to use SONY as a means to deliver their material to an even wider range of audiences and SONY will use FUNimation to make even more money. Not a bad trade off for both partners considering FUNimation can continue to run their creative team as they see fit.