Sony has recently announced that it has invested $400 million in China based startup-Bilibili, as part of of an equity exchange. The company will now own about 5% share in the startup.
Sony made this announcement through its subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America, which has now acquired about 17.3 million shares in the company, roughly amounting to just a little under 5%(4.98%) of the company’s total capital, with a lock-up period of six months. This deal values the company at about $8 Billion. After the announcement, share prices for the company went up by 7.6% in pre market trading, from $23.1 per share to $26.20.
With this, Sony will get a chance to collaborate with Bilibili’s platform to produce anime and video games in the country. Popular with Gen Z, Bilibili, which started as an animation studio, describes itself as “a full-spectrum online entertainment world.” Over the course of its 10 year journey, Bilibili has started to venture into other avenues including documentary, esports, and music videos, attracting more than 130 million monthly active users. About 80% of this subscriber base belongs to generation Z, having been born between 1990 to 2009. By the end of 2019, the company registered about 37.9 million daily average users.
“The strategic investment and business cooperation (by Sony) further align our goals to bring best-in-class content offerings and services to our users, as we increase our (Chinese) domestic stronghold in animation and mobile games,” said Rui Chen, chairman and CEO of Bilibili in a prepared statement.
The company was in loss last year but saw a revenue growth spurt of 74%, registering about $288 million.
In the past, Bilibili has come in contact with other major league players like Sony, like Tencent and Alibaba. Backed up by these firms, it also spent 800 million yuan ($113 million) to get the rights to broadcast League of Legends domestically, one of the biggest e-sports events in the world.