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Publishers uneasy about apparent collapse of divine and RoweCom subscription agencies.

Confusion and apprehension continue to dog publishers who are owed large sums of money by divine Inc.--the subscription agency variously described as "restructuring" "undergoing financial collapse," and "bankrupt"--and its Massachusetts-based subsidiary, RoweCom.

Sorting through the few facts and vague press releases yields little new information:

* EBSCO Industries has indicated an intention to purchase divine's European operations, known as RoweCom Europe, subject to French regulatory approval (NL/NL 12/31/02).

* Paula J. Hane wrote in NewsBreaks ( / newsbreaks), "Orders for subscriptions and payments made by libraries to RoweCom this fall were simply not passed along to the publishers, leaving both libraries and publishers in financial limbo and considerable chaos. At that time [December 20, 2002], divine announced that it intended to divest the subscription agency."

* It's rumored that Swets Blackwell has expressed interest in "acquiring some or all of the RoweCom operations worldwide."

* An ad hoc committee of the creditors has been formed--we learned from some newsletter publishers and read about again in Paula Hane's article--"to perform investigations and analyses of the operations and financial condition of RoweCom and its parent corporation, divine, initiate negotiations with RoweCom and divine, and to take such other actions that the Informal Committee may determine are in the best interests of its constituency."

The steering committee has retained the law firm of Jones Day for legal counsel and PricewaterhouseCoopers as financial advisor.

To those of you with a stake in the RoweCom and divine settlement, we recommend either joining the ad hoc committee or following its proceedings at
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Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Jan 31, 2003
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