Model Engineer magazine - gone?

Apologies if this is old news, but does anyone have any further information on the publisher of Model Engineer magazine, Highbury House?
According to several sources, example http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9071-1972568,00.html
It appears that the titles are currently for sale an Highbury's share price is 0.7p, not good as their debts are nearly 30m.
MH
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On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 17:13:44 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

The article seems pretty much up to date as far as the grapevine I am connected to goes. Of course it is MEW as well as ME that is affected by this - will be interesting to see where they end up. It seems pretty certain that they (ME and MEW) will be sold on as a going concern - mostly a matter of who ends up buying them.
Regards, Tony
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wrote:

I wonder if they will honour pre paid subscriptions ?
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
Visit the new Model Engineering adverts page at:- http://www.homeworkshop.org.uk /
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John Stevenson wrote:

That question had just been drifting through my mind, too..
Tom
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An excellent question it is too. However, it would be pretty daft for a purchaser of a title to piss off its dedicated readers by failing to honour existing subs - it would lose them long-term revenue.
Regards, Tony
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wrote:

In their 2004 annual report Highbury House admit that "We are also in the process of finding buyers for our remaining Lifestyle and Special Interest portfolios" - that's from the chairman's statement published in May 2005. On that basis that they haven't been sold yet I wouldn't rate their chances very highly. Frankly they've faced the fragmentation of their markets (ME and MEW) by online communities about as badly as it could have been done. That doesn't mean that I don't hope they pull through but I won't hold my breath.
As a subscriber as long as they've not gone into receivership your money should be OK. If they do then kiss your money goodbye 'cos the taxman will have it!
Charles
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Not sure of the legal niceties or nuances but I understood that they were 'under administration' . Not sure where that sits with receivership.
AWEM
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On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 08:34:32 +0000 (UTC), "Andrew Mawson"

I don't believe that is the case right now - the company has simply asked for dealings in its shares to be suspended.
Regards, Tony
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wrote:

Correct - acoording to the papers on 6th January. And asked Ernst and Young to conduct a firesale.
If anybody wanted to buy ME and MEW I'm sure that you'd get a warm welcome!
Charles
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On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 09:22:38 +0000, Charles Ping

Bugger it, got to pay the tax and VAT this month otherwise I might consider it. Could always ask Ower Gert, she's usually good for a bob or two -- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
Visit the new Model Engineering adverts page at:- http://www.homeworkshop.org.uk /
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Actually ... that aint beyond the bounds of reason.....
If a consortium could be put together with funding from subscribers/advertisers/ and the casual but interested reader, it could work.
As others have said here ... the ME and MEW mags 'appear' to be profitable (although without split figures from Highbury fro the individual publications it is all speculative at the moment). I for one would be interested in chucking in a few sheckles to a takeover of those two titles. Bring them into true 'public' ownership. Run along the same lines as an investment club.
We attempted to do similar when Reeves was last in trouble... Some of this group might recall the discussions at the time. I received pledges from around the world of folks who would have been willing to get involved if a purchaser had not been found, the largest single 'investor' was willing to put in 10,000 dollars at that time.
What about it ? ... Who is handling the Administration... is it Ernst & Young?
Ian B
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t

They're not yet in administration. They asked Ernst and Young to sell what they can - which seems close to it but it isn't (according to the Indie last week).
Charles
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STOP PRESS!
I know it's Bad Form to reply to one's own post which is in response to anothers comments... but here is a "Hot off the Press" update.
I have just spoken with Tony DeBiaise... (Finance Director of Highbury)
This is the situation at this time.
They are in discussion with potential buyers, and no decision has been made at this time whether to sell off the specialist publications or not. He is hopeful that a buyer can be found for the entire group. (I don't share that optimism having spent the past half hour reading the Stock Exchange notices... if they haven't sold it as a group already then it is unlikely that they will do so... IMHO) Mr DeBiaise states that "No consideration has been given..." (until my call at any rate) "... to selling off individual titles at this stage."
So, make of that what you will folks.
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I don't think it will be as easy as just buying the mag out. You have to take into account staff and pensions rights which may add up to more than the mag is being listed for. You will also only get the mag and management up to a level, possibly not enough for the next stage of the process to get the mag printed and distributed which would have been probably handled en-bloc with the rest of the titles.
A buy out by another publishing house seems to be the least painless if it's possible.
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
Visit the new Model Engineering adverts page at:- http://www.homeworkshop.org.uk /
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John Stevenson wrote:

I agree ... they will attempt to sell off the profitable parts to prop up the losses on the ailing ducks... but there will come a time when if they can't sell en-masse they will be forced to realise whatever assets they can. The difficulty is that by that point the ME and MEW could have very little value themselves because of neglect during this transition phase.

That's if you take on the existing staff as a continuation of service... most of the staff are highbury staff ... not ME and MEW. It therefore doesn't necessarily follow that the editorial staff would be a burden because you would want to keep them in place (if they wanted to stay involved).

You want the staff 'down to a level'; not 'up' to one. The printing would be outsourced in any event, I know two companies (not in the generic printing business) who would eagerly bid for a base run of colour work to augment their present idle times.

The distribution is the problem in any event and is probably one of the reasons for the lack of desire to continue. The EU directives on distribution of Mags and Newspapers which is breaking the status quo on periodical distribution in this country is heading this way in any event. So no matter what happens with ME and MEW they are likley to be Subscription only in the near future (if they suvive ... exactly the same as EIM .. that why they are pushing to increase the number of subscribers).

Only if A.N.Other will take the lot or a subset (Specialist Publications being one such subset, but even then some of the 'specialist titles in their portfolio are pretty niche at the moment, I don't know if I would be keen to take all of them.)
Anyway.... it's all just happy speculation at this stage. I have though also contacted Ernst & Young this afternoon to enquire if they share Mr De Biaise's view about not selling individual titles.
Ian B
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Another thought is that perhaps it's time to put the titles back together. Since the split up of MEW from ME, ME has turned / or been left as a steam train magazine [ loosely described ]
The heyday of ME I felt was in the 70's to late 80's when it was all in one.
Just my take on it.
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
Visit the new Model Engineering adverts page at:- http://www.homeworkshop.org.uk /
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On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 14:59:13 GMT, John Stevenson

That would possibly work. When Kelsey split the Marine Engine bits from Stationary Engine into a separate quarterly mag it didn't last that long, and was eventually brought back into the main magazine. Personally I prefer the older ME's with the variety of subjects.
Peter -- Peter A Forbes Prepair Ltd, Luton, UK snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk http://www.prepair.co.uk
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Yes, I agree with recombining them, have been saying so for ages, and continue to say so at every opportunity.
--
Charles Lamont

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Nahhh.. taxman won't see a penny of it.... it's even worse than that ... the damned accountants will take whatever cash there is to cover their costs of Receivership.
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On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 18:23:47 GMT, John Stevenson

I hope so, my wife just got me a subscription for Christmas.
--
Suffolk, England
(and now posting using Agent)
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