Sony's Funimation Acquires U.K.'s Manga Entertainment

REKI KAWAHARA KADOKAWA CORPORATION ASCII MEDIA WORKS
An anime series based on hit manga 'Sword Art Online' is among the shows hitting subscription streamer FunimationNow in the U.K. and Ireland after the deal.

The London-based distributor of anime serves the U.K. and Ireland.

Funimation, the anime content unit of Sony Pictures Television, on Wednesday unveiled the acquisition of Manga Entertainment Ltd., a London-based distributor of anime in the U.K. and Ireland.

Financial terms weren't disclosed.

"Manga is a long-term partner of Funimation and currently serves anime fans across a wide range of channels, including Blu-ray/DVDs, broadcast, theatrical and digital," Funimation said. "Following its immediate consolidation of Funimation’s U.K. home entertainment business, Manga will become the largest distributor of anime Blu-rays/DVDs, offering fans more than 900 hours of subtitled and dubbed entertainment — the biggest catalog of titles available anywhere in the U.K. and Ireland."

The company also highlighted that with the acquisition, most of these titles, many for the first time, will become available for streaming to fans throughout the U.K. and Ireland on subscription service FunimationNow over the coming months. The titles will include such hit series as Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Naruto Shippuden and Sword Art Online.

Funimation was founded 25 years ago by Japan-born Gen Fukunaga, who stepped down as CEO earlier this year to take on the chairman role while retaining a 5 percent stake in the company, with the rest acquired by Sony at the end of 2017. Funimation has since then been led by Colin Decker, a former top executive at rival Crunchyroll, as general manager.

“With this acquisition, we will create a truly immersive anime experience for fans in the U.K. and Ireland. This begins with providing fans access to Manga’s library of titles to enjoy whenever and wherever they want on FunimationNow,” said Mitchel Berger, vp sales and distribution at Funimation. "Together with the Manga team, Funimation will bring its fan-first omni-channel approach to serving anime fans — engaging with them directly through the widest array of touchpoints."

Said Jerome Mazandarani, managing director of Manga Entertainment: "We’re excited for the new opportunities that lie ahead and to serve anime fans in the U.K. and Ireland in a bigger way than ever before."

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Funimation, which has a catalog of more than 600 titles encompassing over 10,000 hours of subtitled and dubbed entertainment. Funimation directly serves consumers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand through FunimationNow.