Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas turkeys

Recent reports from the ASTD and Training Magazine saw e-learning at 25% and 30% of total training mix, well up on previous years. However, in the UK there's good and bad news.

The Christmas season has brought lots of bad news for e-learning companies Epic, Futuremedia and Copia. All three seem to have imploded. On the other hand, many e-learning companies have had a bumper year.

Futuremedia, who have split their shares more often than a log in a matchstick factory, are down to a value of around 250k (and falling). They get threatened with delisting from NASDAQ on an annual basis. The shareholders must be hopping mad to have seen all that cash creamed off by hopeless managers who know nothing about this market. They are so saddled with debt that it would be fair to describe them as the Northern Rock of e-learning.

Epic’s new CEO was mad that their 12 redundancies were posted on the Kineo website in December, four CEOs in two years, and hapless management by Huveaux have seen its revenues, profits and value plummet. At least the new CEO knows something about the market, which is more than can be said for their catastrophic Chairman who limps from one disaster to another (ex-Eidos) and obviously incompetent management. The lesson here is; don’t get bought by a bunch of crusty, old ‘paper publishers’.

Then there’s Copia bought up for 25k in cash and some shares, with liabilities of 46k. Real bottom of the barrel stuff.

The good news is that companies managed by people who know the market and know what they’re doing, seem to be thriving. LINE, Kineo, Brightwave, Caspian and others have all seen fantastic growth this year by innovating and moving with the newer trends in demand.


Barry Sampson said...

It's a shame to think of Copia as a turkey. They are a small team producing very high quality content in a market too full of large producers churning out commoditised junk. I think they did well to hang on to their independence as long as they did. I just hope their new owners give hem the scope to do what they do best.

Donald Clark said...

Fair comment Barry. I make a distinction between the output of all three of these companies and their management. All three produce credible, in some cases outstanding, content and services. What's sad is that this is not understood by second-rate managers parachuted in, with no knowledge of technology or learning.

Clive Shepherd said...

I love this type of posting. It reminds of the good old days of Inside IT, an insider's gossip mag which never pulled its punches. Someone's got to say these things, otherwise we're left with press releases for our information.

Anonymous said...

Me too Clive. We need something like Inside IT as most of us never get to hear what's really going on, just positive news via press releases. Inside IT was a bit vicious at times and John Barker was a bit of a Tossa ('in reference'one for the oldies, not meant to be offensive), but we seem to have no real news. It's all contracts awarded, new board members appointed and so on. Let's hear the good news, but lets' have a Private Eye like voice as well.