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Posts Tagged ‘Bud Leedom’

The B&T buyout of AMS is Official

Remember when AMS news dominated GalleyCat‘s pages? It wasn’t all that long ago, but once the court decisions were handed down and PGW went with Perseus, things got a little more quiet. Except, of course, they didn’t, it’s just that the media got disinterested even though a handful of publishers who elected not to go with Perseus or any other distributor for the moment are getting undue unpleasantness by way of AMS’s attorneys. One non-consenting publisher, Paul Joannides of Goofy Foot Press, has gone so far to file a motion in bankruptcy court to have its contract rejected. “They are refusing to let us have our stock, and now they are withholding our money on recent sales that just a week ago they assured us they would pay,” Joannides said in an email to us.

But as that story plays out, so does the fate of AMS, now officially in the hands of Baker & Taylor after court approval of the $76 million dollar sale. PW Daily reported yesterday that Baker & Taylor has created Baker & Taylor Marketing Services and, beginning Monday, resumed shipping new titles to the warehouse clubs. The purchase, which also includes UK and Mexico assets, involves a range of assets used by AMS to sell bestsellers and other books into the membership warehouse clubs. The San Diego Union-Tribune had more on this story last week, including the news that post-bankruptcy, AMS lost more than $1 million per week in January and an even higher sum in February. Bruce Buechler, an attorney for the creditors, said the losses could total up to $2 million a week. “It’s a sad day,” said Bud Leedom, publisher of San Diego’s California Stock Report, who noted that AMS was one of the region’s oldest companies trading on Wall Street. “When they were founded in the 1980s, San Diego wasn’t a place that was known for publicly traded companies,” Leedom said.

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Today in AMS: Stalking horses and auctions in sight

A flurry of stories preview tomorrow’s big auction day where Judge Christopher Sontchi will decide who has the better offer for Publishers Group West: Perseus or National Book Network. PW Daily reports, as does Publishers Marketplace, that NBN President Jed Lyons promised in a letter sent to publishers yesterday that if his bid for PGW contracts prevails, he would enter into a lease with the current landlord for the current AMS/PGW warehouse in Indianapolis rather than relocating the stock to the NBN warehouse. NBN will also keep a Bay Area presence and maintain a New York office and perhaps most importantly, keep the PGW name and logo.

Some of the PGW staff members took exception to the use of their names in the NBN letter, concerned that it represented an endorsement of the NBN offer, according to Avalon president and PGW founder Charlie Winton, but Lyons said the letter was meant to show NBN’s commitment to PGW, and not as an endorsement.

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Today in AMS: the NoCal perspective, AMS’s side of the liquidation story

The SF Chronicle finally picks up on the AMS bankruptcy story as Ilana DaBare probes the Northern California angle. That’s because many of Publishers Group West‘s clients – like McSweeney’s, Amber-Allen and New World Library – set up shot in and around the Bay area, and are still very much reeling from every development stemming from a bankruptcy that occurred at the “worst possible time.” Take tiny Parallax Press, a nonprofit Buddhist publisher in Berkeley with six employees, was owed $150,000 of its total annual sales of $850,000. “Revenues from the three most lucrative sales months of the year are not available to us,” said Travis Masch, Parallax’s publisher. “This has a tremendous financial impact on us.”

Meanwhile, the San Diego Union Tribune has much more about the liquidation petition by AMS creditors. And not surprisingly, AMS isn’t happy with the idea at all – as the company’s attorney, Russ Silberglied, accused the creditors of exacerbating the company’s problems by cutting off book shipments and making the warehouse stores deal with rival distribution companies. “(The creditors), together with our competitors, are talking to our customers and trying to circumvent us,” Silberglied said. “It seems like the very definition of the harm that’s going to befall us. That’s our business. You know, if we can’t perform, if we can’t sell books, we can’t perform our business.”

And Bud Leedom, who publishes the San Diego Stock Report, said it’s possible AMS still has a shot at surviving its current difficulties. “I’d like to think there’s more to the company than liquidation,” said Leedom. “On the other hand, AMS’s business is all about relationships and the strength of its customers. Those relationships may be untenable because the customers can’t get information about the strength of the company.”