Rob Salkowitz has an analysis of the current financial maneuvers at Wizard World, including the $2.5 million financing by chairman Paul Kessler we reported on yesterday. Since our understanding of finances extends to the level of “Starbucks is more expensive at airports” you might enjoy his analysis:
So, to summarize, Wizard has borrowed nearly $2.5 million from an entity owned by its Board Chairman, in a deal that could provide the financier with a vastly enhanced ownership stake. It has done this to address a cash crunch caused in part by over-aggressive investment in non-performing assets like ConTV and Comic Box, and by an over-ambitious slate of conventions, but also because of curious moves by management like prepaying two years of rent to move offices into a building also owned by Board Chairman Kessler last summer, and exposing itself to litigation because of the way it handled Stephen Shamus’s ouster.
Salkowitz also digs a bit more into the proposed takeover bid by Jerrick Media Holdings. Although I dismissed it, seems there is bit more to it:
An inspection of Jerrick’s finances reveals a company that is superficially ill-prepared to offer a bid on Wizard. The firm’s most recent quarterly filing shows less than $16,000 cash on hand against more than $6.7 million in liabilities, posting a net operating loss of over $900,000.
That said, money does not appear to be founder Jeremy Frommer’s problem. The long-time Wall Street financier has done rather well for himself in the world of high-frequency trading, as readers of Michael Lewis’s 2012 book Flash Boys will surely be aware. His rise on Wall Street began in the early 90s shortly after graduating from SUNY Albany with a degree in economics. Wizard World founder Gareb Shamus also studied economics at SUNY Albany during the same period.
Circumstantial but…intriguing. The botoom line is that Kessler is now in position to have a very big say in where Wizard Worlds go from here.
At any rate, Wizard World New Orleans is going on in a few weeks, with Dean Haspiel, Rob Guillory, Ty Templeton, Neal Adams announced as comics guests, along with the likes of Carrie Fisher, Stephen Amell and Michael Rooker. Wizard World New Orleans takes place January 6-8 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.