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Alphabet Media ‘gone into administration’

Joshua Chambers pictures with Lee Hsien Loong

Joshua Chambers post on Medium

After 12 years of publishing, the owner of Asia’s only pure-play public sector technology title FutureGov has ceased operations, it emerged today.

The editor of FutureGov, Joshua Chambers, wrote in a post on Medium today headlined ‘FutureGov has closed’ that he had received an email indicating that the business had gone into administration with immediate effect.

The news comes five months after FutureGov’s owner Alphabet Media closed its events arm, making its teams in Singapore and Australia redundant.

“The company’s two events arms shut last year, but the debt they accumulated was too great, and the (profitable) digital arm was paying this off too slowly,” wrote Chambers, who was spearheading FutureGov’s subscription digital offering.

“Revenues have been strong over the past year, but legacy debts from previous businesses seemed to bring us down,” he said.

Smith

Smith

Alphabet Media has been operating while massively in debt with outstanding bills owed to former staff, government event delegates and other suppliers piling up in recent years.

The company owned by British expat James Smith is currently facing three law suits – two against former staff – over outstanding payment amounting to more than S$1 million (US$743,000).

The two former staffers taking legal action against Alphabet – former company directors Mohit Sagar and Ellen Quek, whose dismissals Smith announced on Twitter and LinkedIn – launched a rival to FutureGov, called OpenGov, a month after leaving the company.

Debt collectors were called in last month to retrieve a sum owed to a former contributor in Australia, but Smith said he had no money to pay and then threatened to sue the debt collector for invasion of privacy.

A former events executive, Vinita Penna, took legal action against Alphabet over $3,500 in unpaid salary after she left in March – six months after another staff member, Fiona Cher, sued Alphabet for S$2,700 (US$2,160) in outstanding salary.

Since stories of outstanding debt have emerged, more people and companies have come forward claiming they are owned money by Alphabet Media.

Smith has not responded to Mumbrella’s questions about whether a new company would be launched under a different guise and how outstanding debts will be settled.

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