I was hoping to present at the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC this August, but now it looks like the conference could be canceled.
Forbes reports that F+W Media filed for bankruptcy last week.
F+W Media, facing near-term liquidity issues with only about $2.5 million in cash available and $105.2 million in outstanding debt, yesterday filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code, citing in various documents a perfect storm of secular industry decline, poor investments, and even mismanagement.
The New York-based company, one of the country’s largest publishers of specialty and enthusiast media, said it plans to sell its businesses while continuing to operate, in order to “maximize the value of their estates for the benefit of all their stakeholders.”
F+W Media also launched and ran the Digital Book World Conference for 8 years between 2010 and 2017. The conference was shut down following a drastic decline in attendance in 2017, and was later sold off.
Other assets were also sold during that period, including a knife show, a quilting e-commerce business, and others, but neither the sell off nor a reorganization could stem the bleeding. F+W was unfortunately still mostly a publisher of special interest magazines, and like many it saw both its ad revenue and subscriber count shrink over the past decade. Subscribers left because they could find similar content elsewhere (Youtube, forums, niche interest sites) and of course advertisers flocked to Google and Facebook.
F+W now owes money to just about everyone. The filings show that it owes somewhere between $100 million to $500 million to an estimated 1,000 to 5,000 creditors.
In comparison, its assets were estimated at $50 million to $100 million.
Basically at this point the company is dead, and the only thing left is to sell parts of the corpse in the hopes that the parts can live on.