Posted on March 31, 2009

Jeg fejlede alene

Jeg var ikke rigtig klog da jeg gik ind i den avis – men holly christ jeg har laert meget ! Og NU er jeg lidt SUR.

SAA STOPPER FESTEN

Nu har min tidligere bestyrelsesformand for avisens driftselskaber igen placeret en historie som er 100% opspind i medierne. Jeg skulle uhh ha – have lavet dokumentfalsk.

Men som de sagde i BAGMANDSPOLITIET da han sidst viste sin 100% mangel paa forretningsindsigt (ved at tro at Meecom skulle have vearet istand til at give mig penge under bordet fra deres tomme kasse) og lokkede en taburet polititkere fra enhedslisten til at politi andmelde mig:

“Vi ka tydeligt se at dette er ren chikane (hvem tager dog et papir som dette ud af en samenhaeng) – men dette ser vi ofte. Der er ingen sag – men nogle vil have dig igennem presse møllen.”

Ganske rigtigt er der ALDRIG BLEVET ET SAGSNUMMER UD AF DET – og Svenn og politikeren burde have regningen (og noget medicin) for deres konspirationsteoretiske anmeldelse. Spild at skattekroner – Spild af tid – men sikkert godt for Svenn Aaage’s image…?

Nye anklager

Der kan ikke sættes en finger på noget af det der er foregået i avisen!!!

INTET!

Jeg har selv pådraget mig den ultimative gabestoksstraf – og kan ikke starte virksomheder i en rum tid – jeg er i karantæne. Jeg er nu konsulent med sukkersød stemme, slesk tale og slibrige roser til alle der vælger at hyre mig. MEN JEG TUDER IKKE – DET ER SIKKERT SUNDT.

Jeg er 100% uforstående overfor de anklager som mine ellers dygtige ansatte Svenn og Morten fremkommer med i den nye, og i øvrigt ellers skidegode, bog. (En historie som Berlingske idag vaelger at spinne).

De pisse dygtige bestyrelsesmedlemmer Jimmy Maymann og Herman Haraldson skrev jo ikke under på regnskaberne og tog pa ferie med slukket mobiltelefon uden at se dokumentationen for finansieringen bag regnskabet.

Svenn Dam, som heller ikke var der da lokummet brændte, forsvandt i over en uge. Imens tvang jeg nærmest nogle mine Amerikanske investorer til at købe mit arvesølv – BullGuard – til spotpris. For at faa til loenninger.

Svenn stod i håndvaskens nu glasklare skær og skulle på ferie (ja midt i overlevelseskampen – vær ikke forundret keare laeser). Han skrev, i sin iver for at komme hurtigt afsted, under uden at se dokumentationen for den tilførte kapital!!!! Det må da være en burde vaere en bestyrelsesansvarssag i sig selv vill nogen sige – men ikke mig. Han fik en del opkald fra min CFO – og var hele tiden i kontakt med CFO’en – INTET er nyt for Svenn og det jeg svarede på i artiklen var blot at jeg ikke kunne få fat på ham – resten er fejlciteret. Men han proever at faa svinet mig til – og har vel egentlig succes. For der går vel ikke røg…

At jeg så tryller pengene frem – som der ikke kan sættes en finger på – er jo kun hans held. Rent faktisk blev han på sit feriested telefonisk informeret at vi af rent konkurrencemæssige årsager ikke behøver oplyse beløbet (en god ide fostret af Morten Nissen Nielsen). Dette har han  tilsyneladende glemt i sin iver for at forfølge konspirationsteorier – men det er faktisk en uvæsentlig detalje, sammenlignet med at vi ikke havde den endelige finansieringsdokumentation på plads endnu, da han satte sin underskrift. (Ikke et ord om bestyrelses ansvar, professionalisme eller dybde i sit DKK 1,7 mio om aaret deltidsjob).

Det undrer mig derfor meget at denne mand kan have bestyrelsesposter i nye milliardsatsninger – med endog meget sorte udsigter. I Dansk Bredbaand har man snart brændt en milliard af (hov det ligner en stime for Hr. Dam). Hvis man ringer til AGF (sjovt link) eller til Lars Kolind – som nu også er i retssag med Svenn – bliver min forundring yderligere underbygget. Og sidst han blev fyret fra en avis var det ogsaa de andres skyld – ikke noget med at tage ansvaret for et skole engelsk der fik Montgommery til at grine og Pelle (Metro chefen) kun har hånlig latter tilovers for. Derudover har jeg har haft en samtale med Danmark største avismand som, i den rareste tone kunne berette at manden aldrig havde nået et budget.

For nu at tage den hele vejen rundt – sa er det jo også et sindsygt bevis på manglende forretningstæft at han har erklaeret mig konkurs. Viljen til at destruere opvejer 100% logikken –
1) han kunne sku da regne ud at han ikke ville faa en krone – mine selskaber er intet vaerd i konkurs. 99% af alle mine investeringer har (til min egen overaskelse) en “Change of ownership/bankrupsy clausul” således at de ikke kan sælges til tilfældige hvis jeg er konkurs. Det er 100% standard – saa de  smaa fantastiske startups ikke ender med hostile investorer. Men de betyder at det hele er NUL VÆRD – og i denne krise er det SLET IKKE NOGET VÆRD.
2) Jeg har måtte sige nej til de vildeste nye projekter som allerede ku have tjent 4-5 mio EUR fordi jeg ikke maa eje noget. Det er sku da ærgeligt – men mest for Svenn – jeg har sku godt af at være på pinebænken og komme i god fysisk form – lege med ungerne – og finde den næste version af mig.

Det meget underlige er at jeg faktisk syntes Svenn var god i mange sammenhænge (og for det meste arbejdede om en hest) – men det er ligesom når man starter sin første virksomhed (dette var min første store virksomhed) – så tror man sku på hvad de såkaldt erfarne siger. Man glemmer at de heller ikke ved noget – og man kan ikke se om de er gode mennesker foer til lokummet brænder.

Nu ku vi så begynde at politianmelde hinanden (sæbeoperaen ruller jo allerede) – jeg kunne jo teoretisk set anmelde for:

a) Tyveri og læk af fortrolige dokumenter (men fuck det)
b) Manglende bestyrelses etik (man går da ikke bag om ryggen pa hinanden)
c) Afpresning (Thordis gider heller ikke – men hun har jo oplevet afpresning)
d) Mon ikke jeg kunne få en eller anden til at anmelde for kickback – hvis man ser paa hvor sindsyg vores trykkontrakter så ud udefra? Mon somerhuset i Italien er bygget for helt beskattede midler? Nabo’er der stikker hinanden og børns forældre der sagsøger hinanden – det er sikker fremtiden. Men ikke med mig som medspiller.

Det rager mig langsomt – det hele handler vel om at man kan se sig selv i øjnene. Og jeg forstår på skolekammeraterne at Svenn har haft det meget svært – og jeg ville intet få ud af det.

Jeg var ikke rigtig klog at gå ind i den avis – men slet ikke rigtig klog da jeg ikke fulgte mine instinkter (og min mentors råd), eller lave due dilligence og smide Svenn ud første gang jeg havde følelsen. Dumt. MIN FEJL og kun min. Og Hr. Nissen er en pisse talentfuldt stjerne – der bliver sat i skyggen af sin mentor. Bittert.

PS. Og nej hr Berlingske journalist – du har ikke faaet modstridende forklaringer fra CFO og Jeg – du har ikke hoert efter og vaeret helt fyr og flamme for at lave denne historie. Og professorer der bliver lavet spin paa – spinner på dette som var det dit eget væveri – jeg har ikke været tæt på regnskabdelen – men min CFO havde fuldt styr på det. Og vi lavede ikke fejl – da vi vidste at alle øjne var på os.

PPS. Jeg har massere af tid nu – massere af penge det har vi haft – værdighed ligesaa – og jeg gider ikke mere pis fra sådan en lusker. Brænde andre folks penge af skånselsløst – kun med egen personlig vinding for øje – det er hvad han gør. Rend mig – jeg vil lave mine ting – og jeg er SULTEN TIL DEN DAG DE SLUKKER PULTEN (Jokeren).

(The day I lost my legs and arms part II)

I’m now 5months past closing my newspaper, and it has been ugly – ugly – ugly. I have been using a LOT of mental power to get around this situation and through it. Family, Partners, Banks, Banks, Creditors have been VERY understanding and I have been working like a dog to get through, especially mentally – getting my mind off the huge defeat it was to lose:

a big bet and
a big team
a big dream
quite a lot of money
my head (for some time)
– and then refocusing and coming back to what I’m (supposedly) good at: Starting companies – catapulting people and ideas into reality – and identifying where (big) money meets stellar executors/executable visions.

But I need to confess (I was insecure + afraid + a self-centered dickhead towards 2 of my own soldiers) – but I can only see that now.

I have had a fallout with 2 guys from top management Svenn and Morten, and quite a lot of mud has thrown around. And I have been furious and felt that I was a victim – and I felt these guys where wrong/washing hands/burning me to look good/not sharing responsibility. But Monday this week at a pre-courtroom meeting I realized that it’s all about me being stupid and selfish and NOT LIVING UP TO THE ETHICS I WANT TO – put simply, I realized that my behavior was completely wrong (and yes it took me 5months). But I never had a lawsuit filed against me, never had to appear in court before and I intend to keep it like that. It took quite some time – but Im not too proud to change my mind and give a GIANT APOLOGY !

1) Jan/Feb 2008 I did a deal with my TOP management – I personally underwrote a 1 year salary compensation and some super-warrants (In case the venture should fail) – because I believed in them. I gave them my word.

2) Until the last day Morten (and Svenn) worked like hell – were present 24/7- hyper energetic – always very very very loyal – and hard as steel towards anyone who dared to say anything wrong about the project. Even the final “standing up in front of all employees” – they offered to take care of.

THE FALL OUT WITH TOP MANAGEMENT (Svenn and Morten)

3) During closing I was – scared like hell – didn’t dare to think through all consequences – Chose to listen to the advise of lawyers who didnt know what they were doing – and where our documents where.

3a) Monday morning 8.00 – I told Svenn and Morten that I would keep my word – but would have trouble honoring the money on time – and they would have to wait and help out – I would pay whatever urgent bills and do everything I could. I kept my word! They told me directly: We want our deal – not talk (hey, that’s my motto). NOTE: I was stupid – and I was not negotiating, just demanding – and felt they should suffer with me (also financially) and I did not think about Svenn and Morten’s security and real life economy. They where looking at a guy who just burned 150mio(DKR) – traveled the world – WAS very rich – talked about billions – and had no chance of knowing that I was at the time 99% bankrupt despite my huge portfolio – used private jets – had an art collection – was a clean tech (wannabe three-hugger) investor….

4) Tuesday one week later – During that upcoming week I did not dare to call Svenn and Morten – since I was not myself in the storm! And my x-lawfirm told me that the contract with TOP MANAGEMENT had never been signed – I made one of the worst mistakes of my life (confused, afraid and full of self pity) – I told Morten and Svenn that the contract was not signed and that I would not honour it. I broke my own rule number one I RAN FROM MY WORD – and of course they got insanely mad. I would have gone ballistic as well. Eepecially as the signed contract was at my x-lawfirms other office (Svenn used them). The rest is well know – I was accused of everything possible – and had to defend myself – (of course I had done nothing even remotely illegal – but I was blamed and hurt like very few Danish entrepreneurs my age – actually I felt as if I had lost my arms and legs) – as a guy who runs from his word deserves.

5) Until Monday this week – I had to deal with very strong self pity and emotions against Svenn and Morten – and I felt betrayed (called them the silliest names in the media) – but also – probably because my situation is not solved*. But with the Gaza conflict in mind I had an epiphany and realised that I needed to keep things in perspective. I realized that my situation was more than 90% my own fault – and in the bigger picture my troubles are so small and such wast of good energy, time and money – If I can’t solve my own shit how can there be any hope. Secondly, I have to state that I have been way too close to seeing how you can bend rules and how weak contracts really are (and how much I could have used it – and could be forced to use it) – I’m simply scared that once you end up being on the other side using the rules and the system to postpone simple things, you can’t go back. And therefore this:

Dear Morten and Svenn – I have been acting in a selfish, demanding, foolish way and I did not keep my word. Im sorry – I will of course do so (when possible). And I fully understand that you guys wanted to set me under fire – I would have done worse things if a idiot had not kept his word to me. My deepest and biggest apologies!

*but Im close banks and everyone else has been all cool – and if I will go bankrupt it’s due to the financial crisis on top of this unwise paper investment. My portfolio is GOOD and STRONG – but all creditlines to companies are being called in and some are dying). I have had some legal meetings around this – and felt so bad about it.

I have to finish off with the song from Nike’s Olympics commercial: I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier – and next time I will honour my word to my soldiers.

ps. this is what it looks like: A way to get peace in my soul – and focus on the important stuff. I could easily take 24months in court and get at huge discount on the amount – my new legal guys are fantastic (and hate me for writing this). It’s just not me and its not gonna happen – time spent in court is time wasted!

Posted on September 10, 2008

The Day I Woke Up Without Arms And Legs.

First of all I’m really really sorry to say that my Newspaper project did not survive – not sorry for me (I take all responsibilities) – I just hate myself for bringing other people (employees and partners) and service providers into trouble – it feels unfair and coward-like… The recession and my stupid communications over summer (we delivered the yearly report 2 months too late) killed us. The simple explanation is that sales did not meet budgets and therefore since Thursday I have been talking to the people backing me and to myself (I have personally put DKK 105 million into this project – money that I have been borrowing – VERY BAD CHOICE) – and over that weekend I had to make a hard decision.

DKK 75 million was suddenly not enough – since the price to break- even suddenly doubled – and after working 9 months 24/7 (having learned more then the previous 10 years) with an increasingly dried up (dead) financial market – I simply could not see a way to continue…..

5 REASONS for my Sunday decision

1) Budgets tilted
– and all the cash I injected after summer was sucked up by the Tax Gyus – and August salary became a problem) – the August sales came in at only 60% of budget (we were canceled off media plans due to the negative press we received in July and our job market initiative lost traction) and pre-booked sales suggested that September sales would miss budget by a similar percentage or more (and this is despite that fact that we were still selling more advertising millimeters than any other newspaper in Denmark).


2) Overall Danish (Global) recession

– it’s coming with an ugly speed – and the first thing that retailers and big advertisers will cut = advertising. Today Media Market in Borsen even talks about no difference without Nyhedsavisen in the market.

3) I’m too inexperienced
– I’m too soft, too optimistic and romantic – I did not have enough pessimistic fantasy to imagine that budgets could break so fast – and that the recession is reality – it is all very strange. My management skills are beaten by any kindergarden manager (I respect them a lot by the way)..

4) Competition
– all papers in Denmark starts every morning by carrying money to work – and we have been working for the advertisers – and with pre-booked sales for September suggesting that we may actually sell less than in May, I suddenly started to doubt whether we could make money even in a JV with another player*. Prices never go up as fast as they go down – and competition will not stop with one competitor less.

5) My EGO
– suddenly I was afraid whether I was doing this to prove myself and because of the love of changing industries. I saw all my own cash being GONE – and personal bankruptcy as an option (I’m fighting it THESE DAYS since my funds dont give any cash – my investments have no value in a stressed sale – but dont feel sorry for me -> that’s how entrepreneurs work) – and suddenly I got a wakeup call.
Conclusion: Since I invest with passion and with a naive trust in management – I should only do smaller deals.


THE RATIONALE:

Even in a partnership with Metro or Berlingske – we would not be able to make money within 12 months!
*When Svenn Dam told me that on our trip to Stockholm after visiting Metro – I started sweating in that cold way – you know what I mean?

THE PARTNERSHIPS:

Metro
We asked Metro for a sales price for the Danish operation and as an alternative suggested a JV – but they obviously have way to much self confidence with Kinnevik (a VERY STRONG holding) backing them. And despite their trouble in the stock market – I felt that they would not give up – and join our wild operation. But I really had the hope – and our talks with their chairman were very open.

Berlingske (Mecom’s Danish operation)
I have had 15-20 conversations (calls and breakfast) with David Montgomery since June – Berlingske wanted to help us to close down (but I never wanted to do so – I have really believed in this with my heart). This Irishman with 35 years in the industry has been playing me like a piano – always suggesting collaboration – potentially buying – but always just cool and impossible to get a firm agreement with. Even when we 3 weeks ago sent an offer to take over Berlingske (see my previous post on how much under pressure they are) – David has been cool and just saying: “Morten – there are no magic bullets – I’ve been in many newspaper wars and it takes a long time and costs a lot of money – but it never really changes anything…”. On behalf of Baugur and Me – I proposed a deal where we would have closed down Nyhedsavisen solvently and then I should work for Mecom out of London- as a consultant (and this is subject to a lot of speculation – since some people think that I was not allowed to negotiate about this). The fact is that Mecom probably didn’t have the interest (nor the money) – and I could not find money to shut down solvently. It actually hurts me that rumours say I have been paid to close down – I would never EVER take money to do that without then closing the paper paying everyone what they were owed. And yes we had negotiations – but hey FUCK – isn’t that pretty normal when you have lost DKK 100 million? So FUCK you idiots – using your self pity to put this out.

JP/Politiken
I have had a couple of talk with them – but they have their Metro interest – amd they ALSO smelled that I was starting to doubt – what other reason would I have to call… (Yes I’m not too smart).

Norway
The top 3 Norwegian papers are all gongho – on trying to take over Edda – the Norweigen part of Mecom. They had designed a hostile takeover of Mecom’s loans trying to buy GBP 600 million of loan for less than face value – and that way get the control of Mecom the day they could not meet their debt governance ratios on the loans. But this was too far fetched with my wallet size.

SPECIAL THANX

– All employees
I have had +50 sms/emails from employees who lost their jobs and feel sorry for me – strange – that’s so amazing. And during “bankruptcy aftermath drinking” – no one blamed me – all positive. Thats probobly first time in history)

– Baugur and Thordis from Stodir who gave me this chance – and the most fair deal EVER and NEVER jumped out of any commitment (and I would do this again if I could guaranty a solvent closing).

– Morten Nissen Nielsen – this gyus works like no one else – a bit young in his management style and optimistic – but DEEP RESPECT.
– Simon Andersen (this guy will be BIG)
– Michael Elmhoff from distribution – who handled the closedown in Aarhus and all the violent threats from the newspaper delivery employees
– My Family and Friends – who haven’t been able to talk to me for 9 months


SPECIAL NOTE

Call me stupid – not trustworthy – whatever –  it’s OK – I fucked up. I take all responsibility. It was MY MONEY (and all I had and had access too) – and it will be 18-24 months in hell from here – but I will start and invest with my knowledge and build companies for life – and I’m scared but not stopping – Im just back to ventures without money. Sorry.

THE (SEMI) BITTER AFTERMATH – from an optimistic id(ea)iot

Nyhedsavisen have done something historic (let’s call it a DKK 1 billion gift to The Danish Democracy) – and its unfair that Berlingske and JP/Politiken gets DKK 300 million in government subsidies – while Metro and Nyhedsavisen gets nothing – cal me bitter :)

If just the financial markets would have picked up in MAY – ohhh – we could have done it. FUCK FUCK FUCK I hate to loose – and I will see my psychiatrist to get over this – and not get bitter… There are so many things that we could have done if.. if… if… :) But the fact that USA (land of the free) handed over their credit institutions Freddie & Fannie to the state sunday and Lehmann Brothers down 50% yesterday – these events can tilt the world economy :( – and all my startups are hurting from it. No money in the market.

I never in my life had a lawsuit and hope it will stay this way – but given my personal guarantees it might be hard to avoid this time – fingers crossed.

I said that I would not give up until my arms and legs where cut of – and basicly thats NOW. I followed my instinct – and failed – and I will do it again – probably not this big a deal – but lots of smaller. I’ll be back

Posted on August 20, 2008

Berlingske Media lost DKK 78 million

I have been trough hell this summer with Nyhedsavisen – because media is writing about media with a passion that very much surpases the size of the company. And today something significant happened – and NO PAPER TOOK IT UP – no one chose to write about it.


Berlingske Media lost DKK 78 million in first half of 2008 and has launched into a down-ward death spiral!!

Im NOT HAPPY ABOUT OTHERS PROBLEMS – but someone needs to publish it – Borsen, Berlingske and JP did not..

After months of nothing but EVIL spin about Nyhedsavisen, it seems very strange (but of course predictable) that NO-ONE is writing about how serious the situation is for Berlingske Media as they are loosing money BIG TIME and fighting for its life with its parent group up to its neck with debt.

Here are the numbers for Berlingske that were announced today:

For new readers beware that ”exceptional items” is accounting language for BULLSHIT. Reducing staff and restructuring the organization are REAL cost of running a business in a down-turn and next year there will just be new “exceptional items”.

If you want to see how AMAZINGLY small a font “exceptional items” can be written in, see their presentation and accountson www.mecom.co.uk/investors (do they think small fonts make the problem go away?)

On top of this they will BULLSHIT even more with long talks about online growth when in fact only 5% of total revenue comes from online (90m versus 1.7 billion of newspaper revenue) – FUCK ALL and does not in ANYWAY compensate for the 13% loss in advertising revenue they had just in first half of 2008.

Furthermore, the loss of DKK 78 million is before interest so the parent Mecom has to crack the whip in other countries in order to service their DKK 6 BILLION DEBT! Bankers are knocking on the board room door as we speak as the terms state that the loan cannot exceed 3.5 times the group earnings (EBITDA). And this is not your standard bank overdraft – if you breach the terms you are TOAST!

Nyhedsavisen is squeezing Berlingske on EVERY FRONT and anyone who has spent 5 MINUTES in the newspaper business knows that you CANNOT staff cut your way out of a seriously accelerating advertising loss.

All in all – Berlingske is going DOWN!!

Of course this should also be of interest to JP/Politiken as there business completely mirrors Berlingske’s challenges with only ONE exception: they haven’t really started firing people yet!! Luckily, employees on JP/Politiken have a BOOMING job section in Nyhedsavisen to look forward to!!

And while I’m at it, why is no-one writing about the Metro BULLSHIT about 16% double coverage of Metro and 24 Timer when it is in fact 44%!! How can anyone be in ANY DOUBT that their business concept is so obviously thrown together using the exact same calculators the management used to DESTROY TV2 with!!

LONG LIVE NYHEDSAVISEN !!

Posted on July 23, 2008

Nyhedsavisen – Press Release


Only in Danish sorry

Kære alle
Interessen for Nyhedsavisen har de seneste dage været enorm. Det forstår jeg godt. Og jeg er stolt over og glad for at kunne fortælle alle, at vi i aktionærkredsen i 365 Media Scandinavia A/S er blevet enige om vilkårerne for tilførsel af den fornødne kapital til fortsættelse af driften i Nyhedsavisen og Morgendistribution Danmark. Vi indsender derfor vores regnskab torsdag morgen.

1) Jeg vil gerne UNDSKYLDE overfor alle vores kunder og ansatte at forhandlingerne mellem aktionærerne har trukket ud.

2) Jeg medgiver at det kan virke uprofessionelt – som de lærde, eksperterne og min mor har valgt at antyde – men det er et mindre mirakel, at tingene er lykkedes – midt i en sommerferie og en finansiel krisetid hvor selv Korsbæk er i knæ.

3) Jeg har aldrig tidligere i mine 80 virksomheder haft så dygtige medarbejdere, ledere og bestyrelse.

4) Jeg har stadig absolut kontrol med selskabet – og min finansielle partner er i verdenseliten.

5) Jeg giver ALDRIG op – om jeg så skal ende som ham Monty Python ridderen, der råber og skriger – selv om han har mistet både arme og ben!

PS. Hvis du skal have kunder i din butik – og tænker på at bruge avis-annoncering – så deler vi 450.000 aviser ud til de mest interessante hjem hver morgen inden 07.00– og vores fantastiske konkurenter Jyllands-Posten, Politiken og Berlingske Tidende deler 120.000 ud. Vi er ikke meget billigere – men effekten er rigtig god.

PPS. Der bliver ikke mere kommunikation fra mig – nu skal der arbejdes.