Job losses expected at troubled AudioGo as it falls into administration

October 30, 2013

Dozens of redundancies are expected to be announced tomorrow at AudioGo, the Bath-based audiobook publisher which has just gone into administration.

The firm, which employs more than 100 people in the city, filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators last Friday after efforts to sell the business as a going concern proved fruitless.

Accountancy firm BDO is believed to have now been appointed to the role. The majority of AudioGo’s staff are now likely to be shed to immediately cut costs.

A small number of employees are likely to be retained to operate the business on a day-to-day basis while the administrators go through its finances and weigh up the options of selling it or closing it down completely. The firm last week said it had received a number of serious expressions of interest from potential buyers but it is not clear why none of these came to fruitition.

Media reports said this afternoon that the company, formerly BBC Audiobooks, suspended its operations last week following “recently discovered significant financial challenges”.

The BBC reported that managing director Mike Bowen has been suspended while finance director Bradley Whittock has left the business.

BBC Worldwide retains a 15% stake in the company after selling an 85% shareholding in BBC Audiobooks to AudioGo in 2010.

The firm, which operates five offices and a mail order depot in Bath, also employs a large number of freelance producers, editors and actors.

In January it acquired US firm Blackstone Audio for an undisclosed amount. At the time it said the move would strengthen its US operations – it already had operations in Rhode Island and an office in New York. Mr Bowen became CEO of the combined group. The link up added nearly 5,000 titles to AudioGo’s catalogue of around 10,000 titles, which include best sellers by John le Carré from the BBC archives and the re-voiced James Bond novels by Ian Fleming.

The Blackstone acquisition was supported by Alcuin Capital which financed the 2010 acquisition of AudioGo by a group of private investors.

Last week Blackstone bought back the US business for an undisclosed sum.

AudioGo posted increased annual profits of £2.4m on marginally reduced sales of £15.6m last year.


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