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Viz and ShoPro Merge

posted on 2005-01-25 15:25 EST
Sister Companies to Merge, New Company Name Undetermined.

Sister companies Viz, LLC and ShoPro Entertainment have announced that they will merge this spring to form an as of yet unnamed company (referred to as "Newco" in this article and their press release). Originally a subsidiary of Shogakukan, VIZ is now jointly owned by Shogakukan and Shueisha, while Sho-Pro is a subsidiary of Shogakukan.

VIZ and Sho-Pro have often worked closely together on titles such as Inuyasha, which is licensed by Sho-Pro, licensed to Cartoon Network by Sho-Pro, licensed to merchandise manufacturers by Sho-Pro, localized by VIZ and released on home-video by VIZ.

In the past, most Sho-Pro titles have been released in North America by VIZ, however some, such as Sonic X have been released by other companies. When asked if "Newco" would end up being the actual releaser of all future Newco licenses, VIZ public relations manager Evelyn Dubocq responded that currently undetermined but added, "That would be the natural progression. The Newco function will be an extension of the parent companies in the US as a master licensor for North America." Current titles that Sho-Pro holds the license for that have not been released in North America include Doraemon and Croket.

"Newco" will be jointly owned by Shueisha, Shogakukan and Sho-Pro Japan. The exact distribution of ownership has not been made public.

Although the press release frequently refers to the international market, the exact changes to their international business remains undetermined (or unpublicized) at this moment. Dubocq stressed that that, as Sho-Pro is already an international licensor, the new company itself will be a "Global Company." VIZ does not currently release titles internationally, and when asked if "Newco" would directly release titles in foreign markets, Dubocq responded that it was too early to speculate but stated, "We have a global focus now, anything is possible."

Hidemi Fukuhara Vice Chairman of VIZ will be the President and CEO of "Newco", while Viz President Seiji Horibuchi will become the co-chairman of "Newco".

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