Perseus Acquires Avalon; Sale Could Affect AMS Distribution

January 11, 2007
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January 11 – January 18 , 2007 Edition

Breaking News
Perseus Acquires
Avalon; Sale Could
Affect AMS Distribution

NEW YORK, NY/1/11/2007—Charlie Winton, CEO of Avalon Publishing Group, has announced his intent to sell the company to Perseus Books Group for an undisclosed sum. Avalon, with sales of about $32 million, is one of the leading independent publishers in the United States.

Winton will remain as a consultant during the transition. He will work with Perseus CEO David Steinberger to focus on how Perseus can further develop its distribution services to independent publishers, a move that could involve a distribution deal with Advanced Marketing Services, Inc. (AMS), now in chapter 11.

Both Avalon and Perseus imprints are distributed by PGW, a unit of AMS. Perseus’s Consortium and Perseus Distribution lines are key PGW clients. Because of its strength as a substantial creditor, Perseus is working on a distribution deal with AMS that “would benefit all parties,” according to quotes in the media from Steinberger. When asked whether Perseus would put forth a plan to take over PGW distribution, a spokesman for AMS confirmed that Perseus is one of the companies AMS is talking to on a range of possibilities. Jeffries & Company, investment banker, is overseeing the bankruptcy process for AMS. The spokesman said “It is too early to speculate on any deals with PGW or AMS.”

The spokesman has also confirmed that AMS subsidiaries in the United Kingdom are not included in the bankruptcy and will not be affected.

As part of a series of on-going hearings over the AMS case, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court has scheduled a hearing on January 24 to consider whether to give PGW critical vendor status to get funds flowing to them for their pre-petition claims. In early February the court will hold a hearing to form a creditors’ committee. AMS has about 40 top creditors.

Avalon, established in 1994, has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. Avalon imprints include Avalon Travel Publishing, Carroll & Graf Publishers, Marlowe & Company, Nation Books, Seal Press, Shoemaker & Hoard, and Thunder’s Mouth Press

The Perseus Books Group is a consortium of independent publishers who share marketing, distribution and back office operations. Its imprints include Basic Books, Da Capo Press, PublicAffairs, Running Press, Basic Civitas, Counterpoint, and Westview Press.

AMS, a leading provider of customized merchandising, wholesaling and contract book distribution services, filed in December 2006 for voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. In addition to major creditors, such as Random House, Hachette book Group, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, the company also distributes for a number of small publishers both in the U.S. and the U.K.

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