Sony’s plan to acquire anime streamer Crunchyroll from AT&T’s Warnermedia may have just been dealt a blow. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has extended its antitrust review of the sale, reports tech site The Information, citing three people familiar with the process.
In December, after months of rumors, it was announced that Sony’s Funimation Global Group would buy Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion, subject to regulatory approval. The news prompted a backlash from many anime fans, who argued that this represented too much consolidation: Funimation and Crunchyroll are the two leading anime streamers in the U.S. The DOJ is said to be looking into whether Japanese studios would have fewer options for overseas distribution as a result of the merger.
The review could take six months or longer, according to The Information. After that, the DOJ will either approve the deal or sue to block it. The DOJ did not respond to The Information’s request for comment.