Very little in the media today or yesterday that adds a whole lot to what readers learned from the press release on the upcoming merger of Viz and ShoPro. ICv2.com has a smart run-down on the top excecutive positions, and generally provides a much better write-up than I did. SFGate.com has news that the new company will be located "at the renovated Powell Theater at the corner of Powell and Bay streets in San Francisco." Peeking in on a few fans at the Anime News Network boards you get idle speculation that this may be more symbolic than market news, due to ShoPro's lack of big hits. I don't know about the latter, but I think it might be useful to think of this as an investment in manga-driven content and a desire by Japanese companies like the three involved here to exploit fully the US market for Japanese entertainment.
In other news, Anime News Network has a 2004 in Manga article up that emphasizes the number of companies now involved in the North American market. ICv2.com reports that the North American manga market grew in healthy fashion in 2004, while anime sales (that frequently drive manga series) were flat. This is ICV2.com combined bookstore and direct market top ten: