Plum TV files for bankruptcy
ASPEN – Plum TV Inc., which operates Channel 16 in Aspen, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday.
Plum representatives would not comment on what the bankruptcy filing means for Plum TV Aspen or the expected summer launch of a local Plum magazine, other than to say things will remain status quo through the court proceedings. The station was broadcasting live from Aspen Mountain on Wednesday. Chapter 11 filings are designed to allow the debtor to continue operating while it reorganizes its financial matters.
“We want to reassure our audiences and advertisers that Plum TV remains in business and will continue to provide our daily programming throughout this process,” Plum TV founder and chairman Tom Scott said in prepared statement. “Plum and its respective channels continue to enjoy strong brand identification in desirable markets.”
Aspen-based David Cook, general manager for Plum’s mountain region, added: “I have no comment on the specifics of the filing, but I can tell you that I’m very excited about my future with Plum TV.”
Plum currently operates in eight resort markets – Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Sun Valley, Miami Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and the Hamptons. Its stations have an emphasis on tourism and leisure programming.
In September, Plum announced a wave of massive layoffs nationwide – including all but two positions in Aspen; that move came less than a week after then-CEO Jerry Powers resigned, citing financial issues, and was replaced by Scott.
According to the filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Southern District of New York, Plum TV Inc. has estimated assets of between $1 million and $10 million, with estimated liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the Bronx, N.Y.-based company had assets of $8.6 million, with liabilities totaling $19 million; revenue for 2011 was estimated at $6.4 million, resulting in an $8.4 million net loss.
Court documents listed hundreds of creditors, though specific debts were not included. Among the creditors were several Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley businesses. Plum spokesman Tom Campo, of New York-based Campo Communications, would not comment on if these creditors are owed money or how any outstanding debts might be resolved.
Sally Spaulding, spokeswoman for The Residences at The Little Nell, where Plum Aspen’s studio is currently located, would not comment on Plum’s account status citing company policy.
Spencer McKnight, with the Aspen Video Productions, offered the following statement: “Aspen Video Productions has had a long and great relationship with Plum TV, its employees and clients. We are currently owed money from Plum TV and they have been good about communicating with us as they restructure their company. It is our understanding that this is simply a continuation of the circumstances that happened last August. We look forward to working with the future Plum TV.
“Plum TV plays a pivotal role in Aspen and AVP looks forward to them remaining in that role for the foreseeable future.”
Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle offered the following statement: “Plum provides a valuable service to locals and visitors alike. We have had an excellent relationship with them over the years and we are hopeful that this filing allows them to continue operating their business and provide programming for the valley and our guests.”
Other businesses contacted, including Aspen Business Center landowner John McBride, did not return calls for comment.
According to Campo, Plum TV Inc. entered into an “asset purchase agreement” as part of the Chapter 11 filing. As such, an investor group has plans to purchase the company’s assets in a court-supervised auction; the group has also agreed to lend Plum $1 million in debtor-in-possession financing to keep the company afloat during any transition.
The investor group is led by Terry Mackin, president of Greenwich, Conn.-based ForesightLab, and Bill Apfelbaum, chairman of New York City-based Media Ventures Group. They will acquire Plum unless another bidder comes forward; Campo could not comment on their long-range plans for Plum.
“As longtime, visionary senior media executives, Terry and Bill have excellent track records and we believe the Plum TV brand will be well positioned when it emerges from the proposed asset sale,” Scott said.
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