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Friday 17 April 2020

Jewish Chronicle - It’s Turning Nasty

After bowing to the inevitable, the recently merged Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News went bust last week, the first significant press casualties of the lockdown era. The assets were to be liquidated; all those who worked on the titles were made redundant, which involved more than 50 unfortunate individuals. But then came an announcement signposting a future for the titles, a hopeful sign of things to come.
He's back in the news ...

The JC’s website told “the Kessler Foundation, owner of the Jewish Chronicle, has today submitted an offer to the proposed liquidators of both the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish News for the assets of both titles. We are hopeful that the Kessler Foundation will be successful in its bid which will see the Jewish community served by a single merged newspaper”. Who would be at the helm? And who would not?

Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle for 11 years, has agreed with the boards of the Jewish Chronicle and the Kessler Foundation that he will step down from day-to-day editorial responsibilities in order to focus more on writing. He has agreed to remain with the paper as Editor at Large so we will continue to benefit from his highly regarded writing [ho ho ho] and insights”. Richard Ferrer of Jewish News would be the new editor.
... so is he ...

All very straightforward. But then a problem entered: as the FT has now revealed, “a rival bid from a consortium through lawyers Osborne Clarke has also been submitted, according to two people familiar with the matter. The rival consortium is being fronted by former Downing Street head of communications Robbie Gibb, biographer William Shawcross, former Labour MP John Woodcock, Rabbi Jonathan Hughes of Radlett United Synagogue, and prominent broadcasters John Ware and Jonathan Sacerdoti”.
... and, once more, so is he ...

Alan Jacobs, who is currently chairman of the JC, was clearly unhappy: “A bid for the Jewish Chronicle using money from an unidentified source and fronted by a group of individuals who refuse to tell the world anything of their plans looks like a shameful attempt to hijack the world’s oldest Jewish newspaper … The consortium members need to come forward immediately to explain their motives and plans”. What say the consortium?

We are deeply disappointed with the Kessler Foundation's conduct during this process, and consider it a cynical move to have put the paper into liquidation during the Jewish festival of Passover and over the bank holiday weekend … With the emergence of a highly competitive rival bid, that move has now been exposed and has backfired. We are confident that anyone who cares about the future of The Jewish Chronicle, will see their scheme for what it is, and support our bid”. It’s going to get dirty, isn’t it?
... and this is what they're all after

To his credit, Stephen Pollard has been maintaining social media silence over the affair. So has John Woodcock. And so has Robbie Gibb. But what some believed would be a straightforward move, bidding for the liquidated assets of the JC and Jewish News and starting over, is no longer straightforward. Instead it will be acrimonious and messy.

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley. Ending up with Burns, y’see.
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J said...

There is something quite distasteful about an owner/company liquidating a company, and then buying up the liquidised assets at a huge discount and then carrying on as if nothing had happened but being debt free, and no longer having any responsibilities to outstanding commitments (such as pension liabilities, redundancy pay, long-standing employment liabilities to existing members of staff... they get to re-employ everyone as if it were day one of the company with no time served for any of them, while also putting the potential debts onto the pensions service and redundancy payouts on to the gov... amazing how all these free-market followers are always happy to make the state pay for their failings... really at this point the law needs to be changed so that no divis can never be paid if current liabilities (pensions etc.) are not paid up in full).

Anonymous said...

A far right faction fight among thieves, hypocrites, liars and shitehawks.

Better in the dustbin of history.

Sam said...

Why would anyone buy the "assets" of 2 newspapers when clearly the audience it's aimed at- Britain's Jewish community, couldn't give a stuff about them or they would have bought enough copies to keep them alive?.
Unless they want a propaganda publication that the major titles will quote when necessary even though they represent bugger all.

MikeD said...

The last time the JC was 'rescued' was just a year ago; '20 donors' gave a large wad of cash to the charity, anonymously natch, to keep it a going concern. Pollard assured us the paper's long term future was assured. And now we have this bizarre move to get rid of debt but keep the low selling and increasing batsh*t propaganda sheet going. Something strange is going on.

David said...

They may have been viable had it not been for some unforeseen expenses incurred in the courts. And it may be that the liquidation was not unwelcome to some.