The business website Bloomberg revealed today that entertainment giant Sony is considering making a bid to purchase US anime distributor Funimation. Sony isn’t alone either; Universal (a tiny division of Comcast) was also reportedly interested in acquiring Funimation, but has decided not to go through with it. Funi is involved with both companies: Universal is currently handling distribution of Funi’s DVD and Blu-Ray products, and one of Sony’s apps is running on a version of Funi’s streaming technology.
The real question is: was Funimation asking to get bought out? Are they really for sale at all? According to a statement released by them today, not really. They call the offers from media giants “unsolicited” and state that their 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.” They don’t believe they need outside help to do that.
That success, however, is going to continue to attract cash-heavy visitors. Funimation’s growth has expanded upwards of 10% per year since 2013, and their annual sales numbers run in excess of $100 million. The anime business is growing once again and this time no one wants to be left behind. Some companies might choose to sidestep a buyout altogether and set up their own anime streaming options — a step Amazon took recently with their controversial Anime Strike channel.