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.