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Sony in talks with AT&T to buy Crunchyroll for more than $950 million: Nikkei

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Sony booth during the 2020 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp is in final talks with AT&T to acquire U.S. animation-streaming service Crunchyroll in a deal worth more than 100 billion yen ($957 million), the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday.

The acquisition would give Sony access to Crunchyroll’s 70 million members around the world, allowing the Japanese entertainment and electronics conglomerate to compete better with Netflix and other global rivals, the Nikkei said.

Sony, which recently obtained exclusive rights to negotiate for Crunchyroll, hopes to leverage the new channel to distribute its own entertainment content, including films and music.

A Sony spokesman declined to comment on the report.

It bought Funimation Productions Ltd, an animation distributor with one million paying subscribers, for about $143 million in 2017.

Sony is beefing up gaming and entertainment businesses under Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida’s strategy to increase recurring revenue streams that cushion the impact of volatile hardware sales cycles.

It raised its annual profit outlook this week, with its gaming business continuing to capture “nesting” demand and Japanese animated film “Demon Slayer” - co-distributed by Sony’s music unit - making a robust start in Japan.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Sakura Murakami; Editing by David Goodman

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