The dismemberment of Palamedia,
the financial empire started by Seven Network star David Koch, is
happening. Staff were told on Tuesday that the financial report
supplied to Sky News would now be absorbed by Sky, who will take on the
Palamedia reporters and producers to generate the nightly report.

What
this means for the future on Sky of high-profile presenters David Koch
and Michael Pascoe remains uncertain. For Koch, who’s been contracted
to the Seven Network since late last year, Palamedia has increasingly
has become a sideshow.

The other part of the split will see
director John McNiven taking control of the magazine and seminar
business. McNiven, a former broker and investment banker, has been
effectively keeping Palamedia viable through a $1.75 million loan to
the company at a rather large interest rate of 18%.

Koch started
Palamedia with a couple of business magazines, then launched into
conventions and seminars and into TV through his links with Seven. Last
year he hosted a short-run small business program that Seven ran to
expunge a financial commitment to such a series in Koch’s original
arrangement with the network. But the biggest move came when Palamedia
expanded into Pay TV several years ago with the provision of the
nightly business report for Sky News (owned by Nine, Seven and Sky
(News Corp) of the UK).

Palamedia’s latest results
filed with the ASX show a bigger than expected loss of $378,000,
despite a 22% lift in revenue to $5.9 million, compared with a loss of
more than $951,000 a year earlier. That higher loss was explained by
the engagement of “outside consultants” by the company.

The
company foreshadowed a big internal re-organisation, asset sales or
closures, and possibly an equity raising to replace the $1.75 million
revolving line of credit from McNiven, which was to allow the company
to continue trading “as a going concern”. The direness of Palamedia’s
financial position though was highlighted by the company having
negative equity of more than a million dollars at the end of December,
2004, and an excess of short term liabilities over current assets of
$1.7 million.

Palamedia shares are unwanted in the market, with a last sale of 3.8c

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Peter Fray
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