With the continuous growth of North American anime licensor Funimation Entertainment in the recent years, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) now considers bidding for the anime company, according to a report by business news website Bloomberg.
Universal Pictures, which is the film division of American telecommunications conglomerate Comcast Corporation, has reportedly weighed bidding but decided not to proceed.
Funimation confirmed that it received unsolicited offers from various companies. In a statement, the company said it focuses on maximizing content avenues for fans.
“The Funimation management team is more immediately focused on continuing to create compelling experiences for anime fans through physical, digital/streaming and theatrical efforts with goals of continuing to expand globally and maximizing shareholder value,” the company said.
Aside from licensing and popularizing anime titles like Dragon Ball and Attack on Titan, the North American company is also behind the distribution of blockbuster anime films such as Makoto Shinkai’s hit movie your name.
With a growing home-video and theatrical market, the company has piqued the interest of corporate giants like SPE and Universal.
According to the Bloomberg report, Funimation earns more than USD100 million (PHP4.9 billion) in annual sales, and the company also experienced growth exceeding 10% per year since 2013.
“Funimation has experienced annual double-digit revenue growth since 2013 for both our digital and physical collectible business despite industry trends in physical disc sales moving in the opposite direction,” Funimation’s Chief Operating Officer Mike DuBoise said.
Both Sony Pictures and Universal have already formed ties with Funimation in the past. Sony DADC, the disc and digital distribution unit of Sony Corporation, has partnered with the Dallas-based company’s streaming business.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment currently has a multi-year distribution agreement with Funimation.
In September, Funimation and Japanese anime streaming service Crunchyroll has entered a landmark partnership deal to cross-stream anime titles from their respective libraries.
Funimation produces and streams dubbed anime shows while Crunchyroll focuses on distributing subtitled contents.