After a number of previous projects together, Sony has secured a 4.98% stake in Bilibili after investing US$400 million in cash, a deal which will also see the two companies further collaborate on anime and mobile games, according to a press release by the Nasdaq-listed social platform.
Encouraged by the announcement, shares of Bilibili surged more than 12% to US$29.55 before starting to pull back. Its stock closed at US$26.83 per share.
“The strategic investment and business cooperation further align our goals to bring best-in-class content offerings and services to our users, as we increase our domestic stronghold in animation and mobile games,” said Rui Chen, chairman of the board and CEO of Bilibili, in the company’s statement.
“We look forward to joining efforts on a broader scale to fulfill the tremendous and growing entertainment needs in China,” he added.
Bilibili is currently valued at around US$8.8 billion and has become a rising star for institutional investors in China. In a move highly unique among large platforms in China, the company secured backing from both Tencent and Alibaba, the two biggest competitors in the country’s internet industry, with 13.3% and 7.2% stakes, respectively.
Sony’s participation doesn’t come as a total surprise, as the duo has previously teamed up on a number of projects.
On April 8, Bilibili announced a strategic partnership with Sony to provide its users copyrighted music videos from the label, which has artists such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Bob Dylan, Oasis, and Britney Spears under its portfolio.
Earlier in 2019, Bilibili and Sony-owned American entertainment company Funimation inked a strategic partnership during that year’s AnimeJapan to acquire anime licenses.
Back in 2012, when Bilibili first officially introduced licensed anime to its site, their first work, Fate/Zero, was published by Sony’s subsidiary, Aniplex. In 2016, Bilibili became the exclusive Chinese agent of Aniplex’s mobile game, Fate/Grand Order, which generated half of Bilibili’s revenue in 2017.
Bilibili saw its revenues jump by 74% year on year to US$288.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a widening net loss of 387.2 million yuan (US$55.6 million) compared to 190.8 million yuan (US$27.1 million) in the same period of 2018.
The youth-oriented platform claimed to have 130.3 million average monthly active users and 37.9 million daily average users, up 40% and 41%, respectively, year on year.