British publisher Eaglemoss Limited – publisher of part work titles such as the Doctor Who Figurine Collection and current Hero Collector titles such as DC Comics, Ghostbusters and Star Trek – has, sadly, gone into administration.
The company filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today, bringing a sorry end to a publisher in operation since the 1970s, the victim of rising debt, loss of income from news stand sales during the pandemic lockdowns – despite attempts to change its business model.
downthetubes sources suggest the company’s large debts finally caught up with them, with some company web services unavailable.
Naturally, fans of their various titles are dismayed, as are freelancers who have worked for the company recently, and are owed money.
The company, run by Eaglemoss Capital Limited, made an operating loss in the year ended 31st December 2020 of £10,504,086 (In 2019 it was £857,379).
The company’s most recently filed accounts at the government’s Companies House for the year ended 31st December 2020 not only note restructuring of the company, but also a decrease in turnover of 36%, with Gross Profit decreased by 72% compared to previous year due to millions in stock destruction costs in 2020, and the reduced number of products released in traditional newsagents because of the Pandemic lockdowns.
Company auditors raised concerns about the company continuing as a going concern, and that “the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business remains significant, particularly in relation to the impact on suppliers, logistics, distributors and customers.
“The Company’s status as a going concern is dependent upon achieving the projected future performance, including the timing of revenues and cash receipts and the pivot of the business to a digital model. Whilst the directors are confident that the Company will achieve its forecasts, the continuing impact of COVID-19 and the challenges around moving to a digital model means that the level of annual revenue is difficult to predict accurately,” they also noted.
Eaglemoss published their first “partwork” back in 1975, since then expanding their range of products. Considered the world’s leading partwork publisher and licensed collectible company, down the years the company has produced, marketed and distributed more than 150 collections in more than 30 markets across five continents. in 13 different languages.
Across the globe, Eaglemoss employed a team of 110 people with offices in London, Paris, New York, Moscow, Sao Paolo and Warsaw. Its nearest rival is DeAgostini.
The company had begun to move away from its historical partworks publishing channel and was in the process of pivoting of the business toward the growing direct-to-consumers channels like Hero Collector, and digital offerings, but it’s clear the COVID lockdowns had a huge impact on revenues, despite hopes company changes would see a continuing reduction in its cost base, and bring it through difficult times.
Sadly, this seems not to be the case and now, Eaglemoss is, apparently, no more. In recent months, it has been running a number of stock sales on various e-commerce sites, including its own, every week.
If a company has borrowed too much money, and gets to the stage where it can no longer interest payments, principal repayments, or maintain payments for its operating expenses due to the debt burden, this would be a final nail in the coffin.
Naturally, we’re very sad to see such a large British publishing company with a significant portfolio aimed at genre fans go under, and we’re sorry for the staff who have lost their jobs, and freelancers impacted by this, including comic creators, too. The impact this will have on the news stand will be significant, unless a buyer is found.
It’s far too early to say whether rivals might “cherry pick” and continue some current titles, leaving customers with their part work models half complete and collections unfinished.
Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Eaglemoss is one of the world’s biggest names in licensed collectible, marketing and distributing more than 150 collections in more than 30 markets.”
He added: “revenue peaked at £68 million but had fallen to £31.6 million in the last filed accounts.”
What Happens Next?
The British courts will appoint an administrator, who will take over administration of the company, assessing its debts and assets, aiming to secure as much as possible for whoever Eaglemoss owe money to.
Initially, an administrator will also seek to find a buyer of the business, or parts of it. If that proves unsuccessful, the company will go into liquidation. All assets will be sold off, including the company web domains and customer database, before shutting the original company down, but this process may take several months.
Please note, this is a developing story, and we are awaiting official announcements from the publisher as to its future