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Posts Tagged ‘Publishers Group West’

Hugh Lauter Levin Associates Acquired by Rizzoli

PW Daily reports that Rizzoli International has acquired the publishing assets of Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, the illustrated book publisher based in Westport, Conn and formerly distributed by Publishers Group West. Rizzoli will incorporate over 200 HLLA titles into its Rizzoli and Universe imprints, depending on the nature of the work, said publicity director Pam Sommers. Founder Hugh Lauter Levin will not be moving to Rizzoli, although Jim Muschett, who has held several positions at the company, will join Rizzoli to help manage and revise the acquired titles.

“After over 34 years in my own publishing house, I feel it is time to look for new challenges,” Levin said in the announcement. “My company is now part of a great publishing house with an outstanding tradition and the resources to help these books reach an even broader market.”

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Reich Returns to Head PGW

PW Daily reported yesterday that Susan Reich has been named president of Publishers Group West, where she rose to the position of v-p, marketing, before leaving and eventually becoming president and COO of the Avalon Publishing Group, one of PGW’s biggest clients. She begins at her new position on July 30, reporting to Perseus COO Joe Mangan. “Susan’s knowledge of PGW and of what is important in a relationship between an independent publisher and its distributor is both broad and deep,” said Mangan in a memo sent to employees. “Her career really leads to this role.”

Before working in the independent press world, Reich had 15 years working for major publishers and was a bookseller in her early career. When Perseus acquired Avalon in January, Reich announced that she would leave the company at the end of June. “This is absolutely a homecoming, because I get to work with an incredible group of people, most of whom I have known for a long time at PGW.”

Counterpoint Bought by Winton; New Venture Begins

PW Daily reports that Counterpoint Press will no longer be distributed by Perseus – and that instead, it has been bought by former PGW founder and Avalon publisher Charlie Winton as part of his brand-new publishing venture, Winton, Shoemaker & Co. LLC. As a result the venture, the final details which should be sorted out by June, will now be known as Counterpoint LLC. Winton will be chairman and CEO while Jack Shoemaker, the original co-founder and publisher of Counterpoint, will become v-p and editorial director of the new Counterpoint. Amy Scheibe will be departing as executive editor.

Winton said to PW Daily that the idea to acquire Counterpoint was part of the original negotiations to sell Avalon (Winton’s former company) to Perseus, but that the bankruptcy of Publishers Group West “put it on the back burner while we straightened out the world.” Perseus wound up acquiring PGW during the PGW bankruptcy proceedings and represents 120 PGW clients. As for Counterpoint, Winton is shopping for office space in Berkeley for the 10-person Counterpoint staff, though it remains to be seen if any or all will, in fact, move to California. Also worth noting is that the other half of Shoemaker & Hoard, Trish Hoard, only recently moved to Manhattan after many years in Washington – no word yet on whether she will stay put, but emails and phone calls are pending…

This Week in AMS: More Time Requested, Victory for Nonconsentings

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported at the end of last week that Advanced Marketing Services is asking the Delaware bankruptcy court to have until August 10 to file for Chapter 11, an extension from the current April 28 deadline. Bankruptcy law gives companies a limited amount of time to propose a Chapter 11 plan to pay creditors without competition from rival plans. As has been widely reported, AMS sold Publishers Group West to Perseus and its wholesaling operations to Baker & Taylor .

Meanwhile, as more former PGW clients sign on with different distributors (including National Book Network, which was in the running to buy PGW outright) one non-consenting publisher was victorious in court at the end of March. Goofy Foot Press, a single-title publisher run by Paul Joannides, was awarded all of the post-petition sales that it requested–a payment that other PGW publishers received. PW Daily further reported that Judge Christopher Sontchi issued a stern rebuke to AMS’s attorneys, calling their treatment of Goofy Foot and other small presses, from whom he had received numerous letters, “outrageous” and threatened to withdraw the executive compensation order for bonuses. According to the hearing transcript released this week, the judge said their actions were “inconsistent with the representations that were made to the Court for the basis to approve the PGW sale to begin with,” and added that if the sale hadn’t already gone through, he would have stopped it. Harsh words, if a bit on the 20-20 hindsight front.

As for Goofy Foot, PW Daily adds that the press is close to signing on with NBN, which illustrates a point made here in the midst of the AMS fray: even losing the bid for PGW made NBN a winner because they could cherry pick among the non-consenting publishers and take on a smaller, more cost-effective load and thus remain able to break even or at least turn a profit. Perseus, of course, got to acquire the publishers it truly wanted (like Avalon and Grove/Atlantic) and integrate dozens more for its own devices. There’s much dust to settle, especially with a court hearing still slated for April 20 for releasing books still held by PGW.

Today in AMS: Perseus Completes PGW Deal, Trouble in Non-Consenting Paradise

PW Daily reported yesterday that Perseus completed its acquisition of the distribution contracts of 124 former Publishers Group West clients yesterday and began writing checks to those publishers. Publishers will receive payment either by wire transfer or mail, whichever they prefer, CEO David Steinberger said. With the closing, Perseus began shipping books from the AMS/PGW Indianapolis warehouse yesterday, shipping 70,000 units to accounts to fill orders under the transition services agreement that will last through July 31. “My goal is to be able to lay out a more concrete plan for our entire organization within 60 days,” Steinberger said.

But here’s where the fun part starts: although Perseus will have a PGW booth at BEA and a PGW catalogue, the company does not now own the PGW name, which is still being used by AMS. But since “Transition Vendor” probably won’t go over well with the BEA-niks, and there are still summer titles to be hawked, PGW it is – unless AMS raises a stink about the name, which seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, Radio Free PGW reports on why the revised offer for non-consenting publishers is still not necessarily in their best interests and how they could file for damages. “This little problem with damages is the main reason why the Judge awarded the deal to [Perseus], because the PGW estate would have had greater exposure to damage claims if NBN had won. AMS knows this all too well, since their investment brokers were the ones whose testimony may have sunk the NBN offer.”

Today in AMS: “Transition Vendor” and Pressure on Non-Consentings

Today is a special day in the annals of publishing, as it is technically the last day of Publishers Group West‘s existence. Tomorrow the company will be known as Transition Vendor, and the switch of many publishers to distribution by Perseus formally begins, reports Shelf Awareness. It’s the most obvious sign of the “second phase” of bankruptcy discussed in this week’s Publishers Weekly, and how the weekly checks from Perseus will stop as the 70 cents on the dollar plan goes into effect – and publishers must get used to waiting up to 3 months for future payment.

Soft Skull‘s Richard Nash was the only publisher contacted by PW who said that the bankruptcy will definitely force him to delay some titles, although some others were not yet sure about what they will do for the rest of the year. “We’ll be doing triage on what books need to be published and which can wait,” Nash said.

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Today in AMS: Perseus Front-Runs, but it’s Up To the Judge

It took a flurry of late night activity, and Judge Christopher Sontchi could decide to do whatever he likes when today’s hearing gets underway at 11:30 PST, but for now, it looks like Perseus has the upper hand in the battle for Publishers Group West and its client publishers. PW Daily reports that AMS lawyers and the unsecured creditors’ committee gave their support to Perseus’s offer to pay 70 cents of pre-bankruptcy claims to PGW clients. Perseus has signed contracts with publishers accounting for 85% of the PGW debt. Perseus CEO David Steinberger said he was “gratified” for the backing of the two parties and appreciated the support Perseus received from the publishers.

But National Book Network isn’t counting themselves out yet. CEO Jed Lyons announced the company is raising the payout to publishers to 100% of monies owed and dropping NBN’s $1.2 million claim against AMS, as well as another unsecured claim. NBN has agreements with 118 publishers, representing 42% of PGW clients, excluding Avalon, which is being acquired by Perseus.

And the 11:30 hearing will also address distributor Baker & Taylor ‘s plans to take control of the non-PGW-related bankruptcy holdings of AMS. Michael Cader noted in Publishers Lunch yesterday that “doing some reverse math” revealed some interesting findings. “In their January 24 court filing, [AMS] declared accounts receivable of $147.5 million and inventory of $72.5 million. But in the B&T letter of intent, accounts receivable have plunged to $65 million — implying that accounts have paid down their payables by returning up to $82 million worth of books.” That’s a whole lot of money unaccounted for, and it’s not even taking into account how much money Wells Fargo has first claim on. Radio Free PGW has much more on B&T’s offer and why, in his opinion, it’s the “recipe to make stinkbug pie.”

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: Hearing Delayed, Baker & Taylor in the Ring

PW Daily reports that today’s 11 o’clock hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on the sale of Publishers Group West ended in a postponement until later this week. Judge Christopher Sontchi clarified for publishers that they are entitled to sign agreements with both National Book Network and Perseus. He also granted NBN two more days to produce a definitive agreement, at which point an auction will be held to determine the winner. If they can’t, then Perseus’s offer will be approved on Thursday morning.

“We respect the process and we’re just looking forward to moving forward as quickly as possible,” Perseus CEO David Steinberger told PW Daily. “We’ve always said it’s important for the PGW community to get a decision quickly.” For his part, NBN head Jed Lyons was pleased that the judge had given the company the needed time to complete its documentation. He noted that the judge said that “facially” NBN’s offer appeared to be higher and better.

In other news, the so-called “mystery buyer” for Advanced Marketing Service’s holdings is none other than book distributor Baker & Taylor . The two parties must complete an asset purchase agreement and then file a motion with the bankruptcy court for a hearing to determine if there are other suitors interested in bidding on the company. The parties expect to request a bidding procedures hearing before the bankruptcy court on February 16, and would hope to close a deal by March 15.

Today in AMS: Tell it to the Judge

It’s a big day in the story of Advanced Marketing Services‘ Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as Judge Christopher Sontchi is set to rule on various motions pertaining to AMS’s future, the competing bids for Publishers Group West by National Book Network and Perseus, and on the most important part of the proceedings: money. Or of course, he may not, if a motion to delay a decision is passed. But to say the industry is waiting on pins and needles for what the judge might decide is, shall we say, a big understatement.

Shelf Awareness has comments from both sides of the PGW bid party. David Steinberger, CEO of Perseus Books Group, said that after “an
extraordinary weekend,” the company has signed up PGW publishers
representing about 85% of PGW revenue, well above the 65% threshold
level set when it made the initial offer a month ago. He noted, too,
that Perseus had changed the offer slightly, “introducing an early exit option” that will be applicable to all publishers that have signed with Perseus regardless of when they signed. “We feel that any further delay in the process would be very unfair to the PGW
publishers and PGW staff who have suffered enough.”

But NBN President Jed Lyons told the online broadsheet that that the
distributor has contracts with more than 70 PGW publishers. “We’re very pleased considering we’ve only being doing this three days. It’s
extraordinary.” He noted that because Perseus is buying Avalon and
because Grove/Atlantic is a strong Perseus supporter, “probably a third of PGW revenues has been off limits for us.” (Speaking of Avalon, Charlie Winton, the company’s president, gets a big write-up in the LA Times as they finally get on the AMS bankruptcy bandwagon.) In addition, Lyons said he had sent PGW publishers a statement from Fortress Investment Group, whose Drawbridge Long Dated Value Advisors of New York is providing financing for the deal.


Radio Free PGW
, as always, has the updates and insight, but today’s nugget comes by way of PGW publisher Vicki Lansky: “I have often found that life’s most important decisions/choices are based on incomplete information (marriage, having a family, believing in god, starting a business, figuring out the right distributor). I’m going to let the court make the best guess it can. Too many unknowns. (My guess is that neither would be perfect.) Having a distributor is better than not having one, that is all I know. I think we’re lucky that 2 companies are willing to slug this out over us. We could have no one interested in bailing PGW (and in effect, us) out. I hope however this works out, it works for you.” And that sentiment sure works for us…

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