Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hapless Huveaux

Well Epic’s free from the clutches of hapless Huveaux’s John van Kuffeler, and his hopeless sidekick, Gerry Murray. Huveaux is basically a bunch of washed out, paper publishing guys (ex-Emap) who think the internet’s a sort of giant magazine. Their board was, and still is, a bunch of lazy boomers who can’t buy, integrate or sell businesses, especially online businesses.

Having bought Epic for over £22 million, Murray put in a series of his mates as managers, none of whom had a scooby about managing an online business. The collapse in revenues and profitability was predictable and it has now been sold for a song (£4.75 million) – got to congratulate the new buyer, as that’s a snip. They had to sell, as the debt burden was threatening to sink them. Of course, that’s not stopped them repeatedly rebasing all of their options to cash in on the collapse of value. This is not the first time that the incompetent Kuffeler has completely destroyed the value of a business. He was involved in the collapse of Eidos, which imploded after late delivery of Tomb Raider product under his watch. Only in the City do ageing, paper publishing men in pinstripes get to manage internet companies. ‘Success may breed success’, but in this case ‘failure breeds failure’. No wonder we can’t match the Americans. What’s amazing is how these guys hang on in there, kicking shareholders and fund managers in the teeth, no matter how much value they destroy.

The lesson in all this is; don’t let paper publishers anywhere near your internet or e-learning company. They’ll kill it within weeks. Thankfully it’s back where it belongs in the hands of someone who knows a thing or two about the e-learning market. What a mess.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hard words from a man who probably made rather a lot of money out of the original sale of Epic to Huveaux....

I wonder what the future will bring...?


6:18 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Hard - but refreshing, too, David.

I served time under Mr Murray back when he was with Emap and remember him as someone who was, shall we say, quick to grab hold of any opportunity. Having made the jump from print to web in my line of work, I also smiled inwardly about the dire warning about "lazy boomers" - especially if they come from the world of print.

At least now I know why Epic haven't been that enthusiastic about putting me in touch with Don!

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first rule of business (or politics)...blame your predecessor has been bent by Donald to blame your successor!

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having worked for Gerry Murray, i can confirm the fact that he is a self important, arrogant little(and that's the operative word) toad who is Premier League when it comes to wasting time and money.Employing him was John Van Kuffeler's biggest ever mistake!

12:52 AM  

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