An investor group led by a former COO of News Corp. has acquired a controlling interest in streaming anime service Crunchyroll, according to AllThingsD.  Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group bought the stake in a deal that will value Crunchyroll at “less than $100 million.” 

The company had previously been financed by a combined $5 million in investments from TV Tokyo (see "Crunchyroll Gets $750K"),digital comics publisher Bitway (see "Crunchyroll Gets Another $750K"), and venture fund Venrock.  TV Tokyo and management, including CEO Kun Gao (see "Crunchyroll CEO: Making Online Anime Pay"), will retain stakes.

The investment came just as Crunchyroll finally launched its long-promised manga platform, which it originally announced back in 2010 (see "Crunchyroll Fashioning Digital Distribution Platform").  In the interim, Crunchroll was involved in JManga, a manga site supported by Japan’s Digital Comic Association, which shut down earlier this year (see 'JManga Shuts Down").

Crunchyroll’s manga launch offers new chapters in 12 Kodansha titles, including Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail, at the same time as they’re released in Japan.  Manga offerings will be available in 170 countries, initially localized only in English.