Scout Media has had a bit of a turbulent year. In July, The New York Post reported that the company fired former CEO Jim Heckman. An email sent to its publishers stated that the board of directors maintained Heckman had “advanced his own personal interests at the expense of the company’s.”
Recently, three of Scout’s creditors filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the company in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, claiming the media company owes them approximately $800,000, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The creditors’ filing
The Journal noted the creditors, one of which includes LSC Communications, said the online sports publishing company hasn’t paid its bills. LSC claimed Scout Media owes it a judgment of $672,000 for printing services. On Safar Foods and Imatch Services LLC were also behind the bankruptcy petition.
An involuntary bankruptcy occurs when three or more creditors of a company file a bankruptcy petition in court without the debtor’s permission. The bankruptcy court must then determine if the debtor “is generally not paying [its] debts as such debts become due unless such debts are the subject of a bona fide dispute.” Only if the court makes such a finding is the debtor adjudicated to be in bankruptcy. TheStreet corresponded with Scout Media President Craig Amazeen via email, who assured readers that Scout Media’s network will continue to publish content.
“We have no comment at this time other than to say Scout’s best-in-class network of publishers will continue to provide the premium content and dynamic communities that our millions of users know and love,” Wrote Amazeen.
The company’s rough history
Given the number of changes at Scout Media in recent months, it’s not surprising its creditors have taken action. The Journal noted Pilot Group, a private equity fund owned by Bob Pittman, acquired Scout Media from Fox Sports in 2013. After purchase, Pittman added Scout Media into the North American Membership Group, a collection of publications that cater to adult males (Scout Media publishes news regarding college football and basketball).
Pittman actually appointed Heckman as the CEO shortly after buying Scout Media, according to The Journal. However, as mentioned above Heckman was fired for apparently abusing his access to the organization’s funds, using them to bankroll personal expenses.
Awful Announcing receives messages
Awful Announcing received several messages after the board of directors fired Heckman. The first was from the board itself, explaining the situation. The second was written by Heckman, who claimed the board of directors’ letter was fake. Finally, the magazine received an email from Scout’s Platform team, which stated all of its members had resigned en masse, among other things:
- Russian investors allegedly tried to seize control of the board.
- Scout had failed to deliver paychecks online and provide platform team members with equity stakes.
- The company had neglected to install capable upper management to maintain operations.
The situation is quite complicated, and in the words of Awful Announcing’s writers, “bizarre.” As it turns out, Heckman is still one of Scout’s chairmen, so the situation isn’t as clear as one might think.
Revisiting the involuntary bankruptcy filing, TheStreet noted LSC actually brought Scout Media to court in November of last year, claiming the latter had failed to pay the creditor $712,000 for catalog printing. We’ll continue to follow the story to see how the situation at Scout media develops.