Few stories here have been as entertaining to cover from a financial skullduggery aspect as the saga of Platinum Studios, a long running con game of a company that cheated a bunch of creators out of their creations while coasting on the success of the first Men in Black film, which it had published in comics form. Founded in 1997, it developed a ton of comics for years without publishing anything while hoping for salvation from the Cowboys and Aliens. I wrote a long history of the company’s bizarre penny stock antics here but the short version is that this business plan never works:
Step 1: buy any comics IP lying around in hopes of making a movie
Step 2: ??
Step 3: Profit!
Anyway, the epicenter—if you call a dozen messages a month an epicenter—of all things Platinum these days is the stock message board, where someone glommed on to the fact that a stock holding company KCG Holdings (NYSE: KCG), a subsidiary ofKCG America, LLC, is buying a lot of stock in the company, a lot meaning 27 million shares. KCG itself is a well established stock trading company of some kind, although just last year it had to make a $12 million settlement for playing a little too fast and loose with money at one point. A fitting partner for Platinum then!
KCG’s interest was revealed in a February 14th filing, as apparently the SEC requires a company to report when they have purchased more than 5% of another company.
Does this mean anything? Is there even anything left of Platinum to take over? Once it claimed to own 5000 properties, but few of them had much of a fanbase, to put it mildly. Since the board drama of a year ago—Platinum’s new president tried to oust owner Scott Mitchell Rosenberg only to have Rosenberg fire him and an investor’s meeting turn into a disaster—the only news of the company was a sale of its storage units last summer. The penny stock was last worth a penny in 2011, it hasn’t tweeted since September 2012, or made any SEC filings since about the same time.
And what of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, the legendary mastermind behind Platinum, Cowboys and Aliens and a plethora of shell companies to keep everything tucked away? He seems to have dropped out of sight as far as Platinum goes, although he’s been backing some stuff on Kickstarter according to his Facebook page.
Rosenberg also published Malibu Comics, which, as we’ve been often told by Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso, will never ever be revived at Marvel despite Marvel having bought the company back in 1994 (20 years ago!!!). No one knows exactly why this is, as an NDA is involved, although there is some speculation by informed parties if you scroll down in this post. I’m guessing it has something to do with Rosenberg.
So yeah, all that struggle for…nothing. It seems the sad, crazy story of Platinum may finally have faded away to dust.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.