Not the Way to Keep a Viable Business Running

The saga of PFD has rightfully dominated UK publishing trade press, what with a new managing director, a failed buyout, mass agent exodus lamely disguised as firings, and a new agency, United Agents, in the works to debut in January. So what does David Buchler, Chairman of PFD’s parent company CSS Stellar, do now? Set up a company with almost the exact same name as the breakaway agents, reports the Bookseller’s Joel Rickett:

CSS Stellar chairman David Buchler has set up a company called

United Agents Group, a name almost identical to that chosen by the

breakaway PFD agents for their new venture. Buchler’s move is believed

to be a spoiler tactic to further destabilise the agents, who quit PFD

after he took control of parent group CSS Stellar in the summer.


departed agents, including books chief Caroline Dawnay, incorporated

United Agents Ltd at Companies House on 25th September. Its directors

include Peter Bennett-Jones, chairman of television producer Tiger

Aspect. They are still finalising funding and new premises.


9th October another company was registered as United Agents Group Ltd.

The address given matches PFD’s headquarters on Russell Street WC2, and

Buchler has now been appointed as the sole director of United Agents

Group. On the documentation the former Tottenham Hotspur FC

vice-chairman is described as a chartered accountant; a list of his

other directorships includes the English National Opera.

Can we say petty, boys and girls? Oh, I think so. Or as Michael Cader just put it in Publishers Lunch, “sounds like a

great way of reassuring the people that PFD is supposedly recruiting to

fill all the empty seats that they’re going to work for a great guy,

doesn’t it?” You bet.