After a series of previous projects together, Sony has secured a 4.98% stake in Bilibili after investing USD 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.
Buoyed by the announcement, shares of Bilibili (BILI) surged more than 12% to USD 29.55 before starting to pull back. Its stock closed at USD 26.83 per share. Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation (NASDAQ: SNE), has purchased 17.3 million newly-issued Class Z ordinary shares of Bilibili at a price of USD 23.1 per share, equivalent to USD 23.1 per American Depository Share (ADS). The deal was closed according to Bilibili’s latest SEC filing.
“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 USD 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.
Read more: Bilibili grows with China’s Gen Z consumers
Sony’s participation doesn’t come as a total surprise, as the duo has previously teamed up on a slew of projects.
On April 8, Bilibili announced a strategic partnership with to provide its users copyrighted music videos from the label, which has artists as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Bob Dylan, Oasis, and Britney Spears under its portfolio, KrASIA reported.
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 (YoY) to USD 288.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a widening net loss of RMB 387.2 million (USD 55.6 million) compared to RMB 190.8 million in the same period of 2018, KrASIA reported.
The youth-oriented platform claimed to have 130.3 million average monthly active users (MAUs) and 37.9 million daily average users (DAUs), up 40% and 41% year-on-year.