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DD Home Entertainment DVD label goes unexpectedly bust, but new owners Simply Media step in

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  DDHE goes broke - Simply Media steps in

Survivors DVD label DDHE (DD Home Entertainment) went out of business in August 2007, forced into receivership by finanicial problems which overwhelmed its parent company. In September, the company was purchased by the Simply Media Group and began trading again as Simply Home Entertainment.

Survivors DVD label folds - and is bought by new owners

The company responsible for releasing all three series of Survivors on DVD — DD Home Entertainment (formerly DD Video) — unexpectedly ceased trading in August 2007. After several weeks of uncertainty during which the company's operations were put on hold, DDHE was bought by the Simply Media Group and began trading again at Simply Home Entertainment.

DDHE had become an unwitting victim of financial problems which have overwhelmed its parent company Medal Entertainment and Media plc (MEM). In October 2006, MEM acquired the DVD and CD company Britannia Music and Film in a move to significant expand its base in the home entertainment sector. However, in the months that followed, MEM discovered that the costs of the expansion bid were far higher than expected — which began to put strain on the company's financial reserves.

The main characters of the first series of Survivors - Jenny, Abby and Greg

Despite the company's efforts to ride out the pain of the transition, MEM found that the firm's bankers felt that the company had over-reached itself — and was becoming increasingly insolvent. At 15:30 on 24 July 2007, the MEM Board of Directors announced that it had suspended trading in the company on the London Stock Exchange. In a statement, the Board declared its disappointment that no "further debt or equity funding or other strategic alternatives" were open to it, and announced the appointment of administrators to take over responsibility for the firm and its assets.

As soon as the announcement was made, all of MEM's subsidiary companies — including DDHE — immediately stopped trading, pending the administrators' appointment. DDHE's managers decided to temporarily close the company's web site. Anyone contracted to work on DDHE DVD releases in recent years (including Survivors' cast and crew members involved in the releases' 'special features') received official letters informing them of the company's demise. For both employees and customers of DDHE, the news came as a complete shock — there had been no public inkling that the future of the firm was in jeopardy.

Two days later, on 26 July 2007, Christine Mary Laverty and Myles Antony Halley of the firm KPMG were appointed Joint Administrators of DDHE and MEM. With the agreement of the Administrators, DDHE's site was re-opened, with a message about the status of the company clearly displayed on the home page. However, DDHE's telephone sales line reported that the service could only accept outstanding payments for goods already dispatched, and not process new orders.

As in normal in such instances, KPMG attempted to find a buyer who might be able to take over the operations of both companies. Advertisements announcing the sale of an 'Audio Visual Publisher' "with 19,000 active purchasers… 300 title rights in military, aviation and transport fields… [and] significant stocks holdings of DVDs" appeared in The Financial Times and elsewhere. KPMG required interested parties to submit an offer by 6 August, and — by an incredibly tight deadline — "complete a purchase by 9 August 2007."

The main characters of the third series of Survivors - Charles, Hubert and Jenny

On 10 August 2007, a spokesman for KPMG confirmed that "one or more expressions of interest" in buying DDHE had been received by the first deadline, but that there was a great deal of negotiation still to be completed before any purchase of DDHE could be successfully concluded: effectively the final deadline was being extended.

In September 2007, negotiations were successfully completed with the Simply Media Group, and the company resumed operations as "Simply Home Entertainment - the new home of DDHE". It was initially unclear whether SHE would restrict its operations to the wholesale and retail sides of the business, or whether it would release DVD titles under its own imprint. Subsequently, in early October, SHE Programming Executive Jo Ware confirmed that the the company would "continue to operate in a similar way to DDHE with a number of releases under our own label."

 

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