Blog Post

Shiny Shutdown Mired In Strife, Co-Founder ‘Heartbroken’

Shiny Media is not dying quietly. While writers await payment from the collapsed blog publisher, its founders and investors are locked in a legal dispute over how the company was placed in administration…

Brightstation VC Dan Wagner tells Telegraph.co.uk: “Shaa Wasmund and I, as directors of Shiny Media Limited and representing over 50 percent of the shareholding in the company, are currently contesting the appointment of the administrator and the alleged subsequent sale of the assets. We are firmly of the view that Shiny Media was a solvent company on Friday, July 17, in good shape and trading well.”

But Chris Price, who founded Shiny with Ashley Norris and Katie Price in 2004, says in our comments: “Every effort was made to continue trading, including selling of assets, redundancies, downsizing offices and, in the case of the directors, substantial pay cuts.” And Claire Foster of administrator Wilson Field told Telegraph.co.uk: “We are satisfied that the company was insolvent … as it was unable to pay its debts … The administrators are currently considering taking legal remedies against Dan Wagner.

While both sides disagree, some writers say the dispute has left them locked out of their blogs; Price told them his email and mobile phone service had been switched off without authorisation.

Norris told me: “I’m completely heartbroken with the way it’s turned out. I’m disappointed we’re having to maintain radio silence and not comment – but it’s for legal reasons – we hope to be much more candid in the next few days.”

Price says he has re-purchased Shiny Media assets through a new company, Shiny Digital, owned jointly by a Brightstation spin-off and a company previously formed by Shiny’s founding trio. But the acrimony seems to have put on ice for now any notion that Shiny could re-emerge.

The co-founders now admit they received under £1 million from Brightstation, and not the $4.5 million both sides have always said was awarded in 2007. Lee, who left Shiny in February in what is now known to be a disagreement over the company’s direction, accused Shiny Media of “bad management” and said Wagner has caused a “kerfuffle“. The switch to Shiny Digital has left Lee, who is no longer with Shiny, with less equity and some other writers with none.

Some freelance Shiny writers, commenting on paidContent:UK, claim they are waiting for payments dating from prior to Shiny entering administration – claims that, if true, would at least lend merit to the administrator’s belief “it was unable to pay its debts”.