I just read that Ziff Davis, the big tech publisher, has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They publish eWeek and PC Magazine, two big tech publications, plus a slew of others. They were the owners of TechTV, before selling out to Vulcan, which sold it to Comcast, which promptly folded it.
Somehow, ZD has a quarter billion dollars of debt. It always boggles my mind to find how deep in hock companies can get. Aren’t the lenders doing research?
Maybe I don’t want that answer.
When this is over, the company will have ‘only’ fifty some odd million dollars in debt… but those who owned 100% of Ziff Davis will then own 12%. Ouch.
At the moment, I can’t think of one business sector in America that’s doing well or has a promising future. I’m sure I’ve oversimplified and one of you will point that out in a comment. But, by and large, business sucks.
Among those doing the worst are print publications, which is where Ziff Davis comes in. The print business model seems very last century – though so do plenty of others.
Computer Shopper used to be a favorite magazine of mine. It was hundreds and hundreds of ad laden pages. Now, Kate Moss thin, I am dropping it.
In fact, I have allowed a few of my tech magazine subscriptions to expire rececntly. By the time the magazine gets to me, I already know what’s in it! The Internet has trumped pulp.
There’s some good news in all this. Business tends to be cyclical. Once the weakest players in an individual sector fold, or are absorbed, the remaining companies should thrive again.
That’s little solace to those cast aside in business closings and downsizings.
ZD won’t be the last bankruptcy we’ll be hearing about this year. It’s still sobering to hear an 80 year old business can get that deeply in trouble while staying pretty true to their historical core model.