Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The Left in Australia – Snapped up in Management Buy-out

At least that’s my spin on the slightly unusual new owners of Social Change Media and – separately – former SCM subsidiary, Pluto Press.

The SCM buy-out by some of its senior staff will no doubt make an interesting MBA case study in a few years time. The company went into voluntary administration in March 2003 for a reason – its core business and clients, communications strategies for superannuation funds – was being savaged by negative fund returns. Two months later, the outlook here is hardly any brighter. More curious still is this:

Former owner, Sean Kidney, is fully supportive of the new ownership and will continue his association with SCM as a consultant specialising in communications strategy development.

So founder Sean has pulled out his money, but is happy to keep his mouth in circulation – nice work.

It is the new owners of Pluto Press, a publisher of political and social issues titles, that really take the cake for chutzpah, however. This article from the Crikey archives casts aspersions on the leftie credentials of multi-millionaires and now Pluto owners, Evan Thornley and Tracey Ellery. No!

Again though, it is former owner, Sean Kidney, who has the natty-est take on the acquisition:

Sean Kidney…welcomed the deal, saying that it would save Pluto from having to chase profits by producing mainstream books.

- David Crowe “LookSmart pair buy Pluto Press” AFR 21 May 2003 (no URL)

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