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Crunchyroll Becomes Majority Investor in Viz Media Europe Group

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
The Hitotsubashi Group maintains minority stake in company

Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe announced on Friday that the companies have signed an agreement for Crunchyroll to become a majority investor in Viz Media Europe Group. The Hitotsubashi Group ⁠— consisting of Shueisha, Inc., Shogakukan, Inc., Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd. ⁠— will retain a minority stake in Viz Media Europe Group.

The Viz Media Europe Group is comprised of Viz Media Europe, AV Visionen, Anime Versand, and VIZ Media Switzerland. Viz Media Europe and Switzerland are content suppliers for TV broadcasters and video-on-demand platforms for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regions. The group also handles theatrical distribution of anime in Europe, retail in the EMEA region, manga publishing (with Kazé Manga) in French- and German-speaking Europe, home video releases, and video streaming.

Viz Media Europe's animated properties include Bleach, Captain Tsubasa, Death Note, Doraemon, My Hero Academia, One-Punch Man, and Yo-kai Watch.

Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll, stated that the agreement "will bring together significant expertise, capabilities, and dedication to grow and promote [Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe's] respective licensed and original content."

Crunchyroll launched in 2007 as a streaming service offering anime titles without authorization, but in 2008 it secured US$4.05 million in its first-round funding from Venrock and began licensing titles for streaming. The Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll in December 2013. The Chernin Group and AT&T formed the joint venture Otter Media in 2014, and Otter Media invested another US$22 million in Crunchyroll's parent company Ellation in November 2015. AT&T then announced in August 2018 that it has acquired all of Otter Media.

Crunchyroll has more than 2 million paid subscribers and 50 million registered users.

Viz Media Europe and Kazé Manga announced a partnership with Comixology in 2013 to offer manga titles digitally.

Source: Press release

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