The ABC is still defending its handling of Jonestown. And the sale of another publication is raising more questions.

Last Thursday (item 17), Crikey reported that Limelight magazine, the
ABC’s listening and viewing guide, had been taken
over by Haymarket Publishing.
The deal was sealed on Tuesday, shoring up the future of the
publication after its publisher iMedia Asia Pacific went into
administration.

But a lot of iMedia’s creditors were not happy with the way
the sale of Limelight proceeded. They claimed
that there had not been a fair and competitive
public tender process – a lot of publishers were not even aware of Limelight being up
for sale, and publishers
who had approached the administrator about buying Limelight, were met
with a dead end because the ABC, for whatever reason, would only deal
with Haymarket.

Surely more competition would have led to the best possible price for Limelight.
Were creditors dudded by the decision? Crikey hears that administrator
Steven Nicols, of Nicols+Brien, defended the purchase by Haymarket as a
good deal at a creditors’ meeting on Friday, and defended their process on the fact that
iMedia
only owned half of the licence to publish Limelight. But as
many
creditors pointed out, half that licence still has value, particularly
when it’s for an ABC title.

Questions remain about why the ABC only wanted to deal with
Haymarket. And how Haymarket had such a leg-up over all
other publishers. Apparently Haymarket had seen figures for Limelight
four months ago, giving
them quite an unfair advantage over other publishers. But creditors
didn’t get a chance to ask these burning questions of the
government-owned entity – the ABC wasn’t represented at the meeting.

Jeremy Vaughan…

Peter Fray

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