AT&T hopes to net as much as $1.5-billion from the sale of its WarnerMedia divisions Crunchyroll. That’s based on statements made under terms of anonymity by persons reportedly close to the matter. The sale would effectively be a resumption of the mobile carrier and media giant’s bid to offload some of its non-core assets. Efforts to raise capital and pay down its debt had previously been interrupted by a reorganization at the company.
What is Crunchyroll and why does AT&T own it?
Specifically, the company has restructured as part of the still-ongoing reorganization efforts caused by AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.
At the time of the acquisition, Crunchyroll was a Time Warner-owned brand responsible for the distribution of chiefly anime content. The company has also been behind several popular Android games, aside from its primary Android app. Most recently, that includes a new anime title called “Mass For The Dead.”
The US government approved the AT&T and Time Warner merger back in 2018. And that saw the media assets, including Crunchyroll, moved under a new band, WarnerMedia. This also isn’t the first time sales of various assets have been interrupted by restructuring.
AT&T has been looking to sell the asset for the past year or so. But, with restructuring happening, that hasn’t been possible. WarnerMedia was headed by John Stankey prior to its current chief, Jason Kilar. Mr. Stankey is now the CEO of AT&T. And with this latest round of restructuring complete, the company is again looking to sell off Crunchyroll.
Who’s going to buy Crunchyroll?
Reports prior to this alleged valuation of Crunchyroll by AT&T indicated the sale could go through with Sony Corp. as the buyer. Sony owns a wealth of media brands and assets already. Given Sony’s long-term association with gaming and media, from its PlayStation division to its mass of entertainment licenses and holdings, the move would make some sense.
For now, Sony has opted not to respond to requests for comments.
It’s not immediately clear why the carrier hasn’t rolled the content from Crunchyroll into its HBO Max or other media offerings. But it may be the case that because Crunchyroll is, itself, a distribution network, it’s simply more trouble than it’s worth. More details will almost certainly be made available on the matter if and when AT&T does find a buyer officially.