The Industry Standard ceased operations today, according to wire reports and sources outside the company. The magazine, which is published by Standard Media International, is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a far cry from just last year when it broke records for having the most ad pages in a single year.
The fall was swift, however, as the Internet slowdown began and the magazine's ad pages plummeted. The Wall Street Journal's Web site reported today that Standard Media and its backers — which includes its largest shareholder, International Data Group, Boston — are hoping for a last-minute buyer. The company had retained investment banker Allen & Co. to explore strategic options, but no assistance has been found as of yet. A much-reduced Web site will likely to continue to be updated, the Journal said.
Meanwhile, calls to ad sales offices nationwide late this afternoon were all answered in the same manner: a voice-mail saying the executive was on vacation for the week of Aug. 13. Staff members are on a forced paid vacation, the Journal reported, after the company failed to find new funding or a buyer. A source inside the company said PR director Alyssa Neil has cut short her vacation to handle the situation.
The Standard attempted to regain its ground several times this year, undergoing a complete redesign in June and losing much of its Internet focus. Instead, it opted for a new tagline, “Intelligence for the Information Economy.”
The shutdown surprised at least one former employee.
“Nobody knew this. Everybody was blindsided,” said the employee, who left the company just a few days ago. “Up until last Friday, the supervisors were saying we were going to go until the end of the year. But it was all kept vague. I think IDG eventually backed out. A couple of weeks ago, there was a rumor about IDG putting another $10 million, matched by [venture capital firm] Flatiron's $10 million. Something happened between today and yesterday.”