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Sony unit to buy anime distributor Funimation for $143M

As expected, Sony Pictures Television Networks is acquiring a majority stake in U.S.-based Japanese anime distributor Funimation Productions Ltd. in a deal that values the latter at about $150 million.

Under the deal, Sony Pictures will acquire a 95% equity stake in Funimation for nearly $143 million. Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga will retain his post and keep a minority stake in the business post deal completion, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

The deal is expected to boost the content portfolio for Sony Pictures Television Networks' ANIMAX and Kids Station channels, the Sony Corp. unit said.

Funimation owns U.S. licensing and distribution rights to anime titles such as "Dragon Ball Z", "Cowboy Bebop", "One Piece", "My Hero Academia" and "Attack on Titan." It also operates subscription streaming service FunimationNOW that is accessible via the PlayStation store, in addition to selling merchandise and DVDs.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as Sony Pictures Television Networks' legal adviser on the deal. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP provided exclusive financial and legal advice, respectively, to Funimation.