Viz Media Europe SAS (Société par Actions Simplifiées or simplified joint-stock company) announced on Thursday that it has changed its name to Crunchyroll SAS. The announcement noted that all of the former brands of Viz Media Europe SAS are in the process of rebranding under Crunchyroll.
The website for French newspaper Le Figaro is listing that the name changed as of January 27. The website is also listing that Mark Smith has replaced Kazuyoshi Takeuchi as company president.
Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe closed the deal for Crunchyroll to become the majority owner of Viz Media Europe Group on December 4. The companies announced the agreement in September. Crunchyroll and Viz Media Europe Group appointed John Easum in the new role of Head of Crunchyroll EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).
The Hitotsubashi Group — consisting of Shueisha, Inc., Shogakukan, Inc., Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd. — is retaining a minority stake in Viz Media Europe Group. Additionally, Shogakukan and Shueisha Group are retaining complete ownership of Viz Media Europe's publishing business through VME PLB SAS, a new company that Shogakukan and Shueisha Group created. The new company is licensing manga for the EMEA and Latin American regions, with Kazuyuki Masuda as managing director.
Viz Media Europe Group is comprised of Viz Media Europe Group, AV Visionen, Anime Versand, VIZ Media Switzerland, KAZÉ, KAZÉ Manga, Anime on Demand, and Anime Digital Network (in partnership with the Média-Participations subsidiary Citel and Eye See Movies).
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.
Thanks to Endymion for the news tip.