Sony Pictures Television Networks has secured the majority of stakes in Funimation Productions Ltd, the company announced on Tuesday.
Funimation is now under the tutelage of Sony as 95 per cent of the stakes has been acquired by the Japanese company for US$143m. Funimation is the Texas-based distributor of hit Japanese animated series Dragon Ball Z and One Piece in the US.
Funimation chief executive Gen Fukunaga is optimistic about the company's future endeavours. In a statement, he says, "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".
Funimation's outgoing chairman John Kuelbs and lead investor Doug Deason echoed Fukunaga's statement, saying "We believe Sony, Gen and his team are uniquely positioned to lead Funimation and its fans into an exciting and entertaining future".
Sony's buyout of the studio is expected to strengthen its distribution of English-dubbed and translated anime not only in the US but in more English speaking countries around the world. Sony owns anime television network Animax that broadcasts Japanese language programmes and English-language feeds. The cable network has a strong market in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Mainland Asia, including Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Apart from Dragon Ball Z and One Piece, some of the most popular offerings of Funimation are Attack on Titan, Full Metal Alchemist, Tokyo Ghoul, Death Note, and Fairy Tail. It has the subscription-based FunimationNOW streaming service for some exclusive series. FunimationNOW is available via PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Amazon Apps, iTunes Store, Google Play, and mobile devices.