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Viz & ShoPro Merge To Form Manga/Anime Giant

by  in Comic News Comment
Viz & ShoPro Merge To Form Manga/Anime Giant

Manga Publisher Viz and anime and product licensor ShoPro Entertainment have announced they’ll be merging to create a new entertainment company. The as yet unnamed company will emerge this spring. The full press release is reprinted below.

Official Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ — ShoPro Entertainment Inc. and VIZ,
LLC (“VIZ”), two prominent North American based companies specializing in
Japanese content, are merging this spring to create a groundbreaking new
entertainment company. The still unnamed venture (“NEWCO”), to be based in
San Francisco, will leverage the unique collaboration, vision and ownership of
three global powerhouses in Japanese manga and animation, Shueisha Inc.,
Shogakukan Inc. and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (“ShoPro Japan”).

Merging ShoPro Entertainment and VIZ is a natural progression for both
companies, who have successively collaborated on such hit properties as
Inuyasha and MegaMan NT Warrior, among others. As one entity, NEWCO will
benefit from pooled resources and creative talent, and gain access to Japan’s
strongest content, augmenting its ability to reach a wider audience. NEWCO’s
mission will be to enrich lives worldwide through the highest quality
entertainment and unmatched storytelling.

ShoPro Entertainment — an affiliate of ShoPro Japan, a subsidiary of
Shogakukan Inc., one of Japan’s largest publishing companies — is a leading
global licensor specializing in animation, entertainment production and
consumer products for such properties as Inuyasha and MegaMan NT Warrior.
VIZ — a subsidiary of Shogakukan Inc. and Shueisha Inc. — is a leading
publisher of manga for English speaking audiences, including the best-selling
graphic novel titles YU-GI-OH!, DRAGON BALL, ALICE 19TH, RANMA 1/2 , and the
mega-hit SHONEN JUMP magazine. VIZ is also a top producer of Japanese
animation home video/DVD titles such as POKEMON, INUYASHA and BOYS OVER
FLOWERS.

“We are uniquely positioned to develop entertainment content across all
available mediums for people of all ages on a worldwide basis, ” said Hidemi
Fukuhara, Vice Chairman of VIZ and incoming President and CEO of NEWCO.
“Combining our collective strengths creates obvious brand building synergies.
Merging and incorporating the expertise and support of Japan’s three largest
and most respected content creators, provides NEWCO with a significant
competitive advantage.”

Harnessing VIZ’ and ShoPro Entertainment’s combined assets, NEWCO aims to
become an industry leader worldwide for audiences of all ages. Going forward,
NEWCO will grow its business by working with its parent companies to maximize
their brands’ exposure on an all rights basis, including TV broadcast,
publishing, home video, licensing, consumer products and promotions.

“In order to nurture and grow the worldwide exposure of Japanese manga and
animation,” said Osamu Kamei, Executive Director of Shogakukan Inc., “we have
decided to step beyond the corporate framework that exists in Japan, and form
a new globally oriented company by merging VIZ and ShoPro Entertainment. I
strongly believe that the partnership of the three companies, Shueisha,
Shogakukan and ShoPro Japan, will be a major step forward for the Japanese
contents business.”

Kazuhiko Torishima, Executive Director of Shueisha, Inc. explained, “At
the root of the globally successful Japanese character business, is manga.
The question we face is how to best communicate and introduce the culture of
manga to children around the world. We believe the answer lies in NEWCO,
which will allow us to unify and manage our business under one roof. In this
regard, we will be able to respond much faster to market needs and thus
greatly expand the exposure of manga.”

Senior Executive Director of Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd., Yutaka
Saito, added, “We have made much progress in cultivating the worldwide market
for Shogakukan’s content business. We are now deeply honored to partner with,
not only Shogakukan, but also Shueisha, whose content has achieved so much
success and acclaim. By representing all rights for our brands, we will be
able to maximize our exposure on a global scale. We are excited about making
this happen.”

About ShoPro Entertainment

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, ShoPro Entertainment is a leading
global licensor of animation, and all associated rights including merchandise,
home video, motion picture, and publishing. ShoPro Entertainment, affiliate
of ShoPro Japan, a subsidiary of Shogakukan Inc., one of Japan’s largest
publishing companies, develops and markets animated entertainment starting
from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise
licensing and promotions reaching audiences and consumers around the world.
To date, ShoPro Entertainment has introduced multi-million dollar animated
entertainment series including Hamtaro, Inuyasha, MegaMan NT Warrior and Mirmo
to broadcasters and consumers worldwide. For more information on ShoPro
Entertainment, visit http://www.shopro-entertainment.com.

About VIZ, LLC

Founded in 1986, VIZ is a multi-media entertainment company specializing
in Japanese entertainment properties for U.S. audiences. Based in San
Francisco, CA, VIZ, one of the top comics publishers in the U.S., is a
subsidiary of Shogakukan Inc. and Shueisha Inc., two of the largest publishing
companies in Japan. As a leading publisher of manga and producer of animation
for English speaking audiences, VIZ serves the growing Japanese content market
for fans of all ages and offers an integrated product line including
magazines, graphic novels, videos, DVD’s and audio soundtracks. VIZ has
expanded its offerings of some of the most innovative products in the industry
through web sites such as http://www.shonenjump.com and its corporate site,
http://www.viz.com.

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