MGT1101 Assessment 2 Part 1

Posted on August 8, 2023 by Cheapest Assignment

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MGT1101 Assessment 2 Part 1

Client Brief

The merger of Fanfare Online Publications and Anston & Levin Publishing was recently approved by both Company Boards. This merger was announced to staff in both organisations last week and will be announced publicly at the end of the month. We anticipate the merger will be finalised within six months and the combined entity will operate under a new A&L Fanfare Publications banner.

We are seeking your advice and recommendations for proactively building a cohesive corporate culture with our combined staff over the first month post-merger. We have supplied some information about our respective organisations below for your consideration.

About the Organisations

Fanfare Online Publications (Fanfare) is an ‘online publishing playground’ with more than 180,000 individual authors contributing work to our platform. We accept submissions in the following categories:

  • Non-fiction (lifestyle, history, self-help, educational resources, nature, biographies etc)
  • Original Fiction (period fiction, science fiction, LGBTIAQ+, romance, children’s etc)
  • Fan Fiction (the most popular category – accounts for approximately 68% of the platform content – works based on popular media with attribution of original copyright to the creators)
  • Creative Works (poetry, plays, innovative works)

Fanfare has been in operation since 2012 and is valued at $2.2bn. We have a membership of 2.2 million users and a fee-paying subscriber base of 182,600 conservatively forecast to grow 8% over the next 12 months. Fanfare listed on the ASX in January of 2018 at USD$12.01. Shares are trading at USD$17.81 today.

Fanfare has 280 employees across the globe, most working remotely. Its Head Office is situated in Ontario, Canada and it is represented by an international Board made up of financiers, authors, media producers, and publishers.

Fanfare provides a subscription-based original library to avid readers and an important pathway to publication for authors. Benefits for our members are:

  • For readers:
    o Free membership offers an extensive library available 24/7 with more than 2.7million unique original works;
    o Scaled fee-based subscription – ad free premium access, curated collections, and professionally edited works;
    o Universal design features for accessibility – audible text options, customisable vision-friendly interface, sensory-safe modes;
    o Reader-driven feedback and recommendations available.
  • For authors:
    o Free membership offers online publication to the Fanfare platform;
    o Scaled fees provide reader analytics, editorial review, and full editing supports.

Fanfare is led by 34yo entrepreneur and founder of the 2009 ‘Knowledge is Free’ digital movement Nisha Pratel. Nisha’s position title is Chief Caretaker.

Anston & Levin Publishing House (A&L) is a traditional publisher of books, magazines, and periodicals established in London in 1908 by Messrs Julian Anston and Emmanuel Levin. A&L has approximately 1,700 authors under contract to deliver more than 6,000 original works over the next three years. Over its lifetime, A&L authors have been Awarded:

  • 2 Nobel Prizes in Literature
  • 17 Pulitzer Prizes – 11 novels, 6 journalism Awards
  • 4 International (Man) Booker Prize Awards
  • More than 14,000 national and regional publication Awards

A&L authors have additionally been Awarded many National and Regional prizes and six A&L titles appear among the Top 100 bestselling books of all time.

As the reading preferences of our customers have evolved toward the digital, A&L has optimised it’s entire catalogue for e-readers and established four audiobook production divisions in the US, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

A&L revenue has been steadily declining since the mid-90’s. As new entrants join the market and consumer trends shift, competition for successful and well-established authors is increasing costs and the number of new authors A&L can support has decreased as a result.

A&L was valued at US$21M when it went public in 1973 with shares trading at US$0.32. In July 2022, A&L was trading at US$6.31 and valued at US$148M. This followed a steady decline from its lifetime high valuation of US$268M and shares trading at US$11.87 in 1996. A&L’s declining value is in line with that of other traditional publishers over the same period.

A&L has been led by Dr Alastair Ferguson, OM in the role of Managing Director since 2016. About the Merger

Despite its many successes, Fanfare is challenged by its relative inexperience in the publishing world. Fanfare has actively sought to build collegial relationships within the industry but has experienced considerable pushback from established publishers against its negatively perceived ‘disruption’ of a mature and highly traditional industry. Fanfare would also like to expand its catalogue of works to include previously published popular titles as requested by its members, but licensing costs have been a barrier to this extension of their product.

A&L is looking for avenues to enable it to foster a pipeline of new authors at low cost and low risk. It is also seeking to exploit opportunities in digital and open access but buying in expertise and investing in expansion is challenging while revenues and share prices are falling.

The merger of these two companies into A&L Fanfare Publications will enable A&L Fanfare to explore, exploit, and expand by leveraging the expertise of both companies toward enacting their aspirations. The media has been very interested in what has been called the merger of “the Grandfather of publishing with the new kid on the block”.

The two Chiefs have been fielding interviews together since the announcement, assuring shareholders, members, and consumers that the core values of their organisations are well aligned. They have further embarked on a joint internal campaign with the intent to work closely together to ensure the merger is a positive experience for employees. No decisions have yet been made about the leadership of the new organisation (A&L Fanfare Publications) but Dr Ferguson (current A&L Managing Director) has recently announced that he intends to retire in 12 months.

Advice Required

We are deeply committed to the health and wellbeing of our people and while both companies currently have strong and cohesive cultures, there are differences. We are conscious of a need to develop a new shared identity as we move forward and would appreciate your advice about what challenges our employees might encounter as we merge our companies over the next six months.

We are also seeking recommendations for actions we might take to support our teams as the merger draws near and to embed the new culture once it is complete.

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