AppNewser Appdata 10,000 Words FishbowlNY FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser MediaJobsDaily UnBeige SocialTimes

Posts Tagged ‘PGW’

Soft Skull Purchased by Winton, Shoemaker LLC

After last week’s announcement of the massive restructuring of Perseus – leading in part to layoffs, imprint cancellations and the formation of a new venture by Charlie Winton – now comes a new announcement that Winton, Shoemaker & Co., LLC has acquired Soft Skull Press. This is their third acquisition this year. In February of 2007, they acquired Shoemaker & Hoard from the Avalon Publishing Group, and earlier in May they acquired Counterpoint from The Perseus Books Group.

As with the Counterpoint transaction, the Soft Skull transaction is expected to close in June. As announced last week, when the transactions close the company will be renamed Counterpoint, LLC. Soft Skull will remain as an imprint of Counterpoint. Soft Skull’s Publisher Richard Nash will join the company as an Executive Editor and will also maintain the title of Editorial Director of the imprint. Nash will acquire for both the Counterpoint imprint as well as continuing to acquire for the Soft Skull imprint. In the fall 2007 season, titles acquired by Soft Skull will be published under the Soft Skull imprint and will be distributed by PGW. Beginning in winter 2008, all Counterpoint and Soft Skill titles will be distributed by PGW.

Winton says, “Richard is a tremendous addition to our team. He brings with him a number of authors and relationships that will fit within the Counterpoint list and that compliment Jack Shoemaker‘s editorial sensibilities. At the same time, by maintaining the Soft Skull imprint we will be able to extend the range of what we are able to publish.”

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Distributor News: Overseas PGW Sale closes; Fujii and Heinecken Merge

Both stories are taken from PW Daily. First they report that Bankruptcy court judge Christopher Sontchi has approved the sale of PGW‘s two overseas segments to different buyer. PGW UK goes to Medwyn Hughes and Cathy Parsons, who had run HI Marketing Ltd. until they sold it to AMS in 2002, while Brumby Books Holdings bid approximately $400,000 for Bookwise, the PGW unit in Australia and Singapore.

Earlier, PW Daily reported
that Fujii Associates and Heinecken & Associates, two of the country’s largest and best known independent rep groups, will merge their two operations effective January 1. The combined firm will be known as Fujii Associates and will be headed by current Fujii president Don Sturtz. Ted Heinecken, who founded Heinecken & Associates in 1978, will continue to work for the combined group “for as long as he wants to,” said Sturtz.

Major Changes as Perseus Integrates PGW

Publishers Marketplace reports on its front page this afternoon that Perseus will combine its and PGW‘s sales efforts into a single domestic sales group representing the company’s own imprint and Perseus and PGW distribution clients. Perseus will keep 68 PGW employees, but CEO Rich Freese will leave by the end of July as the transition period is complete.

Marketplace further reports that PGW executives and veterans staying on include Kim Wylie (who will continue to be responsible for all PGW client publisher sales, reporting to Perseus’s Matty Goldberg) and PGW field sales director Elise Cannon, who will head a newly combined Perseus and PGW field sales force of 16. Others named include Eric Green, Sue Ostfield, Susan McConnell, Kevin Votel, Eric Kettunen, Sarah Rosenberg, Heather Cameron, Karla Simmons, Sean Shoemaker, Matthew Chilcott, and Roxanne Schwartz.

PGW Overseas Units Get Buyers

PW Daily reported yesterday that AMS has found separate buyers for the international operations of PGW. Medwyn Lloyd Hughes and Catherine Goodman, who have run PGW’s UK operation since AMS acquired their HI Marketing company in 2002, have agreed to pay $216,325 for the UK distribution arm while PGW’s Australian distributor, Bookwise International, as well as its Singapore unit, will be acquired by the Australian company Brumby Books Holdings for roughly $400,000. Both acquisitions also include select APG inventory, and won’t be finalized lest competing bids come into the bankruptcy court by the April 20 deadline.

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.

This Week in AMS: Recovery for Freese, NBN Still in the Hunt

The dust may be settling on Perseus winning the auction to take over PGW publisher contracts, but the turmoil hasn’t stopped. Before getting to that, let’s wish PGW President Rich Freese a speedy recovery after he fell on stairs at his home Sunday night, breaking three ribs, an elbow and possibly damaging his hand. The good news, according to Shelf Awareness, is that there were no spinal or neurological injuries,
according to friends. He has had some difficulty breathing because of the broken ribs and asthma but may be released from the hospital as
early as today.

Meanwhile, Radio Free PGW is doing a yeoman’s job of staying abreast of every new development (and we’re hoping they don’t shut down on March 7 as threatened, but understand why this may be so.) Read on for their thoughts on PGW’s rejection offer of non-consenting publisher contracts (which they deem “mean-spirited and spiteful” and “a blatant attempt to strong arm and punish non-consenting publishers”) NBN’s still-standing 85 cents on the dollar offer for non-consentings, and why it’s bad news to be an AMS employee at the moment with the expected bloodbath at the ready in the wake of its impending buyout from Baker & Taylor , if no objections are filed with the bankruptcy court by February 28.

Today in AMS: Perseus Wins the PGW Sweepstakes

Late today, Judge Christopher Sontchi approved Perseus‘s offer to take over the distribution contracts of all PGW publishing clients that have signed distribution agreements with the company, reports PW Daily. It ends a highly competitive contest between Perseus and the National Book Network for the fate and fortunes PGW clients. “We are excited to move forward as quickly as possible to write checks to PGW clients and to provide some certainty for PGW employees,” said Perseus CEO David Steinberger in a statement. More than 100 publishers, who collectively constitute about 85% of the total amount of monies owed to PGW clients in the AMS bankruptcy, have signed agreements with Perseus. NBN president Jed Lyons said he was “very disappointed” to not have the opportunity to work with the PGW publishers, but congratulated Perseus on its victory.

Today in AMS: Who Will Win the NBN/Perseus Turf War?

When the National Book Network entered the AMS/PGW bankruptcy sweepstakes, we had a feeling things were going to get contentious, and fast. And so it has come to pass, as PW Daily reports that things are heating up with the February 12 court date for judge Christopher Sontchi to rule on the competing offers looms ever closer. To wit: both Perseus (which is claiming a small victory in that it has now received more than the 65% response rate from PGW publishers necessary to bring the offer before the court) and NBN have sent in revised proposals to the PGW Ad Hoc Steering Committee, and at the moment – according to Radio Free PGW – committee is recommending that all PGW publishers sign the NBN offer (after the distributor agreed to a number of the changes in the contract recommended by said committee) and fax it to NBN by Sunday.

Read more

Today in AMS: Annual Meeting Delayed (again), More From Radio Free

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that AMS has, as expected, postponed its annual meeting more than a month following the resignation of one of its directors. Robert Robotti resigned in the wake of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and he had advocated the company go ahead with its annual meeting slated for January 24 – a meeting that would have been the company’s first in four years. Now it’s been rescheduled for February 23, and the company named Marc Ravitz, executive vice president of New York’s Grace & White Co., to fill the vacancy left by Robotti. Grace & White, together with affiliated persons and entities, controls 12 percent of Advanced Marketing’s stock.

On the Perseus & PGW front, the bankruptcy court is still scheduled to meet on February 12 to decide whether the 70 cents on the dollar offer is doable. Publishers Weekly’s Jim Milliot and Claire Kirch report on the “alarm bells” set off by the potential deal. “How can we maintain our visibility when we are becoming an ever-smaller piece of a larger puzzle?” asked Michael Wiegers, executive editor at Copper Canyon Press, which is distributed by Perseus’s Consortium unit. Another Consortium client, Jim Perlman of Holy Cow Press, said he is concerned that with the addition of PGW, Consortium “will lose their ability to handle books with the knowledge and concern they’ve displayed in the past.” Several PGW clients voiced similar questions, wondering where they will fit in at Perseus. “The viability of our list in this marketplace depends in part on a fairly intimate familiarity with what we do,” one PGW publisher said, and another wondered what the “pecking order” will be when all the companies are combined.

As always, for the skinny on the failing fortunes of AMS, check out new offerings from Radio Free PGW. Today they look at the $19 million in books that AMS lost at their Indiana distribution center in 2004, why Perseus may require even longer “float” times than did PGW; and also point people to Mr. Popman’s Place for a breakdown of what might possibly be the real reason AMS hasn’t reported its earnings in several years (hint: a faulty computer system.)

Finally, a disgruntled AMS employee (or management type? Who knows) has decided to strike back. And so we get the lovely “AMS Has WMD” blog, which seems solely designed to take potshots at Radio Free PGW. Make of it what you will, whether from a trolling or humorous perspective…

Today in AMS: More on those pesky antitrust issues

In my previous post I wondered about the potential antitrust issues that arise from AMS‘s bankruptcy and now, Perseus‘s potential deal to acquire the distribution interests of PGW publishers. To answer my questions, I turned to C.E. Petit, an intellectual property lawyer who specializes in publishing and writer-related legal issues. He’s already written about his AMS-related concerns at his blog, Scrivener’s Error, and now follows up with why there are “substantial problems with antitrust related to PGW”:

* Acquisition of PGW by any existing distributor (or publisher that distributes other publishers’ works, such as Simon & Schuster) would implicate horizontal antitrust principles, when one or more firms control a single, discrete stage in the distribution of a definable product or service (in this case, the distribution of books from publishers to retail sellers.) The industry is already, by even the least-inquisitive measurements, dangerously concentrated.

* Acquisition of PGW by a publisher with a more than miniscule list would implicate vertical antitrust principles. The best historical example is probably the twenty-year-long fight to force the film studios to give up ownership of movie theaters (1940s-1960s). The film studios made films, and controlled distribution (in an anticompetitive manner) by ownership of the only place that the final consumer could go to see the film (the theatres.) Antitrust theory says hat distribution and sales to the end user should be distinct from manufacture/development.

The downside is that the only parties with standing to object on antitrust grounds are:

(1) Consumers, who would have tremendous difficulty showing harm (they have to show either a restriction of available product or increase in the price of product)
(2) Competitors, whose competitive position is inherently harmed by the merger (no court has sustained such a challenge in a decade)
(3) The government, which has repeatedly shown no interest in dealing with antitrust in the entertainment industry since the early 1980s

Thus, although I have grave antitrust concerns, I don’t see that anyone is going to do anything about them.

Read more