Multimedia Platforms Worldwide (MMPW), the publishers of New York’s Next and LA’s Frontiers magazines, has laid off staff at each of its titles. Three out of five of its directors have also quit its board, according to a recent federal filing.
The Fort Lauderdale-based MMPW, which describes itself as ‘the only publicly-traded LGBT media company’, expanded rapidly in 2015, buying Funmaps, Next and the 35-year-old Frontiers.
Having publicly listed in January 2015, CEO Bobby Blair made it clear at the time that he wanted the company to becoming the dominant LGBTI media company in the US.
However, the first indications that the expansion may have been too rapid and overly-ambitious came earlier this year. GSN exclusively revealed in May that MMPW’s end-of-year filing included an investor warning that stated the company had, ‘a significant amount of accumulated deficit that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.’
Yesterday, South Florida News said that it had heard from staff at Next and Florida Agenda (another of the company’s titles), who had been told they had been let go and that publication of both print magazines was being suspended – along with Frontiers.
Blair issued a statement to SFN saying that a court order had been issued seizing the assets of his company: ‘For the record, I was re-appointed CEO last week as I became informed all this was happening by management. The last 4 months I have not been involved or included in any day-to-day business or involved in this now disputed credit facility.’
Blair was moved from his position as CEO to that of Chairman in June, at the same time as the company received an investment of $1million to keep it afloat. However, within 60 days, the new investment team had pulled out.
Early this month, three of the MMPW board of the directors resigned. Among the resignations was Robert Weiss, who had taken over as CEO after Blair.
Blair then resumed his role as CEO of the company, which had its assets frozen after being hit with a lawsuit – believed to be connected to a credit and loan agreement from July falling apart.
In its latest filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, MMWP’s net revenue for the six months up to 30 June 2016 was $1,459,168, with a net loss of $4,698,798. It reported negative working capital of $5,518,237.
If, as is expected, MMPW files for bankruptcy, buyers may be sought for its individuals titles, but for the moment, their future hangs in the balance.
Todd Evans, CEO of Rivendell Media, which purchases advertising space with LGBT media, said that despite MMPW’s difficulties, he’d be surprised if the titles didn’t survive in some form.
‘MMPW is obviously going through difficult times at the moment and it is anyone’s guess if they will come through it all.
‘That being said, it is doubtful to have any major effect on the LGBT Market and most likely the titles themselves. Years ago when Window Media shut their doors it was much more dramatic yet all the titles that mattered were able to pick up the pieces and move on.’
Window Media LLC owned several LGBT titles in the 2000s but went bankrupt in 2009. Its most successful title, Washington Blade – the oldest LGBT title in the US – was sold to a new buyer and continues today.