AMC Networks announced today it has completed the acquisition of Houston-based Sentai Holdings, LLC, a leading global supplier of anime content and official anime merchandise, with brands including the anime-focused HIDIVE direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service. The acquisition includes all of the member interests from Cool Japan Fund, Inc., a public-private Japanese investment fund.
With strong industry relationships and access to key content creators in Japan, Sentai distributes and curates one of the anime industry’s most diverse libraries of top trending and classic titles, with its content available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Amazon Prime, among others. Sentai’s HIDIVE streaming service represents a strong new addition to AMC Networks’ portfolio of fast-growing targeted offerings, which includes AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.
AMC Networks has forecast its targeted streaming portfolio will have exceeded nine million paid subscribers by year-end 2021, with 20-25 million paid subscribers by 2025. The acquisition of Sentai opens the doors to new target audiences, as anime is a rapidly growing entertainment category with a highly-engaged global fanbase, propelled by its unique aesthetics and evangelical fans, convention culture and increased online accessibility.
“We are thrilled by AMC Networks’ acquisition and are excited to be a part of their growth strategy,” said John Ledford, Sentai’s Founder. “This acquisition will not change Sentai’s mission to deliver the most exciting anime content to audiences around the world — it will expand it greatly and will give our content businesses more distribution, more partnerships, more scale and more reach. I could not be more pleased.”
Sentai’s executive management team of Ledford, Griffin Vance and Paul Clinkscales, will continue on in senior roles.
PwC Advisory LLC acted as financial advisor, Arnold & Porter and Shiomizaka acted as legal counsel, KPMG FAS Co., Ltd. acted as financial advisor, KPMG Tax Corporation acted as tax advisor, and A.T. Kearney K.K. acted as Strategic advisory to Cool Japan Fund, Inc. in connection with the transaction. Paul Clinkscales led the transaction for Sentai. Hughes Hubbard & Reed acted as legal counsel to AMC Networks.
In addition to the above-mentioned platforms, AMC Networks’ portfolio of brands includes channels AMC, BBC America (operated jointly with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films. The company’s in-house production and distribution outfit AMC Studios is behind major brands and titles, including The Walking Dead, the Anne Rice catalog and the Agatha Christie library. It launched the animated crime-comedy Ultra City Smiths (produced with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios) in July 2021 on AMC+ and is currently preparing AMC’s first-ever primetime toon drama, Pantheon, from creator/showrunner Craig Silverstein (TURИ) and animated by Titmouse, based on the short stories of Ken Liu.
Dedicated to bringing captivating stories and iconic characters directly from Japan, Sentai’s brands include HIDIVE (direct-to-consumer streaming), SentaiFilmworks.com (direct to consumer e-commerce), Anime Network (cable SVOD) and Sentai Studios (localization and studio services). Sentai’s diverse library includes thousands of hours of hit titles and classic series including MADE IN ABYSS, Akame ga Kill, Food Wars!, Clannad, Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, High School of the Dead, Girls & Panzer, No Game No Life, K-On!, Assassin’s Pride and Parasyte -the maxim-.