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Chernin Group Purchases Majority Stake in Crunchyroll

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Senior management to retain "significant" stake in company along with TV Tokyo

The Chernin Group, a company run by former News Corporation executive Peter Chernin, announced on Monday that it has acquired a majority stake in the media distribution website Crunchyroll. The company noted it will use the website to expand into different genres.

Chernin Group did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement, but the entertainment trade magazine Variety reports that sources state that the investment values Crunchyroll at less than US$100 million. The Chernin Group noted that Crunchyroll's senior management will retain a "significant" stake in the company along with its investor TV Tokyo.

Peter Chernin released the following statement about the acquisition:

We couldn't be more excited about the future. Our plan is to continue to grow the anime vertical as well as launch new channels in different genres. Online video is growing faster than any other sector within media, and we feel that with Crunchyroll, we have a fantastic, anchor platform.

Crunchyroll CEO and co-founder Kun Gao said in a statement:

We decided to work with TCG based on their passion for the online video space, expertise in media, understanding of creative content and strong track record of growing businesses. This investment from TCG will allow us to provide an even better experience and service for anime producers and fans worldwide.

Yukio Kawasaki, general manager of TV Tokyo's animation division, said "We welcome The Chernin Group to the Crunchyroll family and look forward to working with them and Crunchyroll management to continue this fantastic ride."

Gao co-founded Crunchyroll in 2007, and in 2008 the company raised US$4.05 million in its first-round funding from Venrock (the venture-capital arm of the Rockefeller family). GDH, the corporate parent of the Gonzo animation studio, also invested about US$2 million in Crunchyroll in 2008. Japanese media company TV Tokyo and Japanese e-book distributor Bitway each invested US$750,000 in Crunchyroll in 2010.

Crunchyroll launched its Crunchyroll Manga service in October. The company offers simulcast services in North America, France, Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

The entertainment trade magazine Variety had reported in October that Chernin Group was in advanced talks to buy a controlling stake in Crunchyroll. At the time, both companies declined to comment.

Sources: GigaOM, Los Angeles Times

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