Naruto Press Releases - Merger of 2 Japanese Giants

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MERGER BETWEEN TWO JAPANESE ENTERTAINMENT GIANTS COMPLETE

Announcing VIZ Media!

San Francisco, CA, APRIL 4, 2005 — VIZ, LLC and ShoPro Entertainment, Inc., two prominent North American based companies specializing in Japanese content, announced the completion of their merger today to form VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a groundbreaking new entertainment company specializing in the production and licensing of animated content for TV and theatrical distribution, publishing, home video distribution, and consumer products. VIZ Media, based in its new location just two blocks from historical Fisherman's Wharf 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. VIZ Media will be owned 40% by Shogakukan Inc. and Shueisha Inc. respectively, and 20% by Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd.

The merger was a natural progression for VIZ, LLC and ShoPro Entertainment, Inc., who have successively collaborated on many hit properties including the wildly successful INUYASHA and MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR. As one entity, the new company will benefit from shared resources and creative talent, and gain access to Japan's strongest content, enhancing its ability to reach a wider audience.

VIZ Media's mission is to enrich lives worldwide through the highest quality entertainment and unmatched storytelling.

"We are excited to continue expanding our business by developing entertainment content across all available mediums for people of all ages on a worldwide basis," said Hidemi Fukuhara, President and CEO of VIZ Media. "Having the support and leveraging the combined assets of three of Japan's largest and most respected content creators provides VIZ Media with a significant competitive advantage and will create unlimited new opportunities for our company."

Going forward, VIZ Media will grow its business by working with its parent companies to maximize their brands' exposure on an all rights basis. Implementing a comprehensive brand strategy that effectively bridges a range of media, including TV broadcast, publishing, home video, licensing, consumer products and promotions, VIZ Media aims to become an industry leader worldwide for audiences of all ages.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ, LLC and ShoPro Entertainment, Inc. recently merged to form VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages.


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