ProQuest in Trouble

According to a report in the Ann Arbor News the information and published works database company ProQuest is in financial trouble:

The accounting problems at ProQuest Co. raise questions about whether the company will continue to exist – at least under that name – even as it begins moving into a new $34 million headquarters building on Eisenhower Parkway next Monday….

Its problems are big enough that it is planning to sell off its most profitable division to raise cash – and company officials say they are not counting out selling the entire company to maximize shareholder value.

Readers may remember that it was only a little over a month ago that I lamented [When Things Go South] the sale of the Canadian Almanac and Directory to ProQuest. Betcha they’d be willing to disgorge it now. What say we take a whip-round and bring the old thing home?

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Comments

  1. Won’t be filing its 10-Q for a while and the restatements of earnings will be material

  2. I received a letter from ProQuest in my email this morning entitled “An Open Letter to ProQuest I & L Customers from President David “Skip” Prichard” which tried to dispell concerns. Unfortunately it seems to be a graphic so I am unable to paste excerpts here. Essentially it says they had a problem with their internal accounting and reporting system, but that it should not affect customers. It goes on to detail how they are still financially solid and not backing off from any of their commitments.

  3. The Canadian Almanac is arguably the oldest continuing publication in Canada. It was started in the 1840s by Hugh Scobie and published out of his bookshop on King street. Scobie’s business, including the Almanac, eventually became the Copp Clark Company (remember those gripping page turners like Chemistry for Canadian Secondary Schools and Cours Moyen de Francais?). Some claim Copp Clark was the oldest english language imprint in Canada but like The Ryerson Press and W.J. Gage it was eventually gobbled up and shut down by one of the multinationals. (In Copp Clark’s case it was Pearson plc).

    Repatriation of the Almanac is a splendid idea. Do you suppose it makes any money?

  4. Jeff – I can top you – try 1752 for a continuous publication: http://www.littletechshoppe.com/ns1625/news01.html

  5. Does the Almanac make money? Dunno, but we could find out. Micromedia (I think it was) bought it and were in turn bought, so there may be some value there.