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Sony Paying $400 Million for Stake in Bilibili, Chinese Online Platform

Bilibili
Courtesy of Bilibili

Sony is to pay $400 million for a minority stake in Chinese online entertainment platform Bilibili. The deal values Bilibili at $8 billion.

The all cash transaction is to be conducted through Sony Corporation of America and sees SCA buy 17.3 million Bilibili shares, or just under 5% of Bilibili’s capital. Bilibili stock is traded in ADR form in the U.S. on the NASDAQ exchange, at $23.1 per share. Prior to the announcement Bilibili ADR shares, finished trading on Wednesday at $26.20 apiece.

The two companies say that, on completion, they will sign a business agreement to pursue entertainment collaboration opportunities in the Chinese market, in sectors including anime and mobile games.

Popular with Generation Z audiences and new generation creators, Bilibili positions itself as “a full-spectrum online entertainment world.” Its operations stretch from videos, and live broadcasting to mobile games.

“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.

Bilibili is best known for user generated short form content, but has recently increased its volume of professionally generated content and stretched into longer format films and documentaries. It recently partnered with Discovery and China Intercontinental Communication Center to produce and release “COVID-19: Battling the Devil,” about China’s fight against the coronavirus.The program was streamed on Bilibili and is to be broadcast by Discovery Channel through territories in Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa.

The company was loss-making again in 2019, but its revenues grew by 74% to $288 million. And at the end of 2019 claimed 130 million monthly average users and 37.9 million daily average users. It builds loyalty and — eventually paying subscribers — by teasing basic users to take a 100-question entrance exam about anime games and comics content. Those who complete the test within two hours are promoted to the status of official members. It claimed 68 million official members, up 50% from a year earlier, in the fourth quarter of 2019.