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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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piaras
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/26/09

Loc: Niagara Region
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Cotts]
      #5943905 - 06/27/13 10:19 PM

The idea of buying the shares, although valid, would be very difficult to do. It is thinly traded on most days. The highest was on May 20 this year at +300k shares. Today June27th there was only 1800 traded. The number of outstanding shares is approx 1.31 million shares. Other then May 20th, it would take a long time to get a major position and get a seat on the board. It is too late and time does not stand still.

Who bought the +300k shares? That is the real question.

Meade has been hovering around 3 to 4 dollars for the last number of years. In fact it reached that point in the fall of 2008. It peaked in the last 10 yrs near 90 in 2003. It has been a takeover target since it bottomed in 2008, and should of been taken private prior to now in any case.

If one is interested Bloomberg, Google Finance etc can show the story. The cash flow is almost nil for the last while. Scary to be in that situation.
Pierre


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Cotts]
      #5943922 - 06/27/13 10:27 PM

Tout est politique in a discussion such as this one, which touches upon finance and regulation; one might have thought this thread would have been better served had it been placed in the Off Topic forum upon its inception.

That said, we can certainly do without the partisanship.

Fred


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5943998 - 06/27/13 11:23 PM

Quote:

Tout est politique in a discussion such as this one, which touches upon finance and regulation; one might have thought this thread would have been better served had it been placed in the Off Topic forum upon its inception.

That said, we can certainly do without the partisanship.

Fred




Yeah you guys ! Geeez !


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Ekyprotic
super member
**

Reged: 11/28/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5944059 - 06/28/13 12:12 AM

Wow, Starman this sounds VERY familiar and reminds me of when Microsoft and Oracle started gobbling up smaller companies and crippling their products.

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Ekyprotic
super member
**

Reged: 11/28/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Cotts]
      #5944067 - 06/28/13 12:16 AM

Cotts, it depends on how you define political. Let's say we refrain from talking about political parties (I blame both equally)..... and we just talk about the way certain companies get carte blanche to do whatever they want, while others go under. Wouldn't that be considered more of an economical discussion rather than political? We ran into this in the fracking thread also. I think it should be okay to call out companies that are destroying the environment- that isn't "political" it's based in science and good sense, and it should be something all people, regardless of political belief, strive for. Because when we mess with the environment, in the long run, we end up hurting ourselves (despite what some short sighted company heads only concerned with their bottom lines might think.)

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Ekyprotic]
      #5944102 - 06/28/13 12:46 AM

It isn't complicated. Does your post make references to government officials? If yes, it's political. Let's get back on subject.

-Rich


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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: piaras]
      #5944111 - 06/28/13 12:58 AM

Well here is my peanut gallery view, in snap shot form, of what I see or sense is going on in our hobby. I am in no way a sales expert, retailer, buyer, etc. just what I am sensing out there.

* The Synta, Celestron, etc conglomerate is essentially becoming an all out monopoly in our field. They have the infinite well of resources from China. And no law can restrict this monopoly. Folks are fine with this monopoly near as I reckon.
* Then there are the "boutique" businesses, AP, Questar, Planewave, etc.
* Then all the rest
* Then there is Meade. Meade's competition is very broad and they are now being squeezed.
* Some cottage industries are doing very well in their niche. One example - the MallinCam. Small business with very very high demand. My suggestion to them - don't grow too fast and maintain your size. BTW - excellent product!
* I can see the Walmart 60mm being a big revenue item as claimed, yet Celestron and Meade advertise their very expensive systems. Is it for consumption for the masses to show how technically adept they are so when purchasing the cheapy 60mm the consumer feels good about it? Or does Meade and Celestron actually make good money on these systems, low dealer margins not withstanding?
* One trend I also see - lots of Meade OTA's (99% deforked) showing up on their competitor's mounts. Very interesting trend - and if I were Meade I would be VERY UPSET and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! It tells me folks love their Meade OTAs (and/or some cannot afford a new one), and most feel Meade has no mount to meet their needs. It seems all the love is in GEM now.
* Very few folks get rich in this field unless you build systems that you also sell to the government (Questar?).
* The real killer seems to be interest in astronomy seems to be fading. I just sense the excitement I had in my day is gone. Why?
-- Circulation of Astronomy and S&T is way down. Part of it is the internet for certain, but still the trend is not good.
-- I go to planetariums around the country. Attendance is clearly not what it was in my day. Then again, in my day I had a professional astronomer actually give a talk and made it fun! Now, it is the same ol' boring canned shows. Who knows the reason, but attendance is down there.
-- Many kids I interact with find astronomy boring; I do try to liven it up, but the tide of disinterest is immense. Now when I have my scouts look through my LX200 in Chaco Canyon they get excited, but they either want to look though a cool telescope or see something cool (Saturn is always a winner) or not bother. Otherwise they check it out online from the Hubble. Good enough for them.
-- I think many in our field put off the regular folks. I was visiting the Chaco to check out their 25" Obsession, a nice big telescope. Big group of people there. They put it on something very very faint for the obsession! You could see it if you averted your vision. What the heck! The astronomer was excited, and it was a nice find, but the guy lost everyone. What a waste. I was at a asto event in March. The put their nice new C11 on an open cluster (I forget which), and he lost everyone. I had mine on Jupiter and the line was massive. Simple ol' Jupiter! I can't tell you how many times we talked about the moon and cloud belts. Still, my point is we seem to spook out folks. Last time I was out, for an event coordinated with the town, we had the police show up and put an end to it! EVEN WHEN APPROVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL! Amateur radio - a new wave of young folks are interested their. No police troubles there too.
-- Some astronomy clubs seem fun. Others, pretty darn snooty and arrogant if you ask me.
-- Light pollution anyone?
-- For folks who want to get into astronomy I sense they feel they need the high end stuff or just stay out. Yes they get that 60mm refractor, but most give up the ghost from there.
-- Note, even with the U.S. population going up (I will pick on us), it seems our numbers are down.
-- Oh, our field is too nerdy for most. The excitement is simply gone for many or not there.
-- Fewer folks want to spend money in our hobby.

So now there are fewer folks are in the pool. Fewer buyers. And we have a big monopoly now (the Synta Conglomerate) - they don't care what you buy as long as it is a product from their pool. This is a very small market now. And it seems with Meade's past decade of bad decisions they have lost all momentum generated from their ads of the 1970s and the massively successful LX200 series, clearly the standard in our field.

The pickings are slim and everyone is fighting over a very small pool. I fear soon we will have just Synta megacorp with China supporting our hobby and one choice to purchase from and then all the scraps out there. Our hobby will never die, but I fear we are in for some dark times.

I understand many folks are cool with just one main source for this field, but I see it as trouble with a capital T.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5944138 - 06/28/13 01:38 AM

Change just is. This is the final act of one, and promising more.

But a world of the light cult is a world without astronomy. I found a 300W lightbulb the power company had sent to my inlaws in the early 1970s with a cartoon of a cat burglar on the outside and giving the impression the light was safety. I need to look around and see if it is still around.

Anyway, it's not a question of whether there is one person with the perfect attitude standing around to evangelize astronomy. People need to find it for themselves. When the local news announces events, I find lots of people with no experience in astronomy show up. So there is interest. When asked how to find things in the sky, I've told people the most impressive sights in a telescope are visible to the naked eye and pointed out what can be seen on the moon and planets.

They seem to be hungry for more direct engagement. Folks just aren't getting it. Otherwise, I expect they would be interested. But the perception of a massive knowledge and difficulty barrier is a barrier. It's like there needs to be an astronomy version of the Food Network.

-Rich


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5944153 - 06/28/13 02:05 AM

Great points in the last couple posts . Showing off the faint fuzzier that are the chalenge for the seasoned observer isn't the way to grab the enthusiasm of the greenhorn .
Show em Saturn . Show em Jupiter . Show em M13 . Show em M31 . Even with a modest 8 inch scope under good skies , the nicer Mesiers are jaw dropping . I'll never forget the first time I saw M31 out at Landers through my SN8 and a 26mm Plossl . The star cloud NGC206 in there . Unreal ! M33 with 5 spiral arms direct vision . Awesome ! NGC7293 seeing the entire helical structure ! Unbelievable ! M13 ! Filling the FOV !
These are the things that can truly inspire the folks checking it out for the first time . If the skies are light polluted , staying with Lunar and Planetary , yeah . But they gotta see the good stuff .
OTT , I will never understand why Meade dumped the LXD75 lineup for the life of me . The affordable GEM and a nice OTA package went by the wayside ?
Duh !
I think I mentioned this before in this thread .
IJDGI .................


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T1R2
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/11/13

Loc: NeverWhere
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5944193 - 06/28/13 03:19 AM

I sorta wish all Synta scopes were "Made In Japan"

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Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5944197 - 06/28/13 03:28 AM

We're going the way of the ham radio clubs in the age of the smart phone.

The idea of Meade disappearing has a sort of unreality to it, as though it could never really happen, and Meade will continue under some conditions or other.
But Unitron is gone; Jaegers is gone; Tasco is gone; Cave is gone. Some of the biggest names from when I seriously entered the hobby, are just history. We could actually lose Meade completely. And anyone thinking we'd be better off with a single source for SCTs isn't thinking very clearly.

IMO.


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Brent Campbell
sage


Reged: 02/09/10

Loc: Olympia, WA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5944246 - 06/28/13 05:58 AM

Quote:

We're going the way of the ham radio clubs in the age of the smart phone.

The idea of Meade disappearing has a sort of unreality to it, as though it could never really happen, and Meade will continue under some conditions or other.
But Unitron is gone; Jaegers is gone; Tasco is gone; Cave is gone. Some of the biggest names from when I seriously entered the hobby, are just history. We could actually lose Meade completely. And anyone thinking we'd be better off with a single source for SCTs isn't thinking very clearly.

IMO.





I'm one of thousands giving an opinion here.

Anyway....I don't think that loosing Meade will affect our hobby that much. It may in the short term drive up SCT prices, in the long run that will simply make the market more enticing for a new competitor.

The real problem right now is the fact that the baby boomers are getting older. I'm the X generation so I'm a bit behind
but the generation before me helped grow the hobby by the nature of their size (huge population growth) and the fact that they did not have so much competing with their attention (smart phones and electronics). Today's generation is not as interested in Astronomy and Mead's decline is a symptom of that overall problem. As the baby boomers get older they won't be purchasing brand new Meads (in general). Once you purchase your "retirment scope" how likely would you be to replace it? You can't win in a shrinking market no matter how good you are.

The used equipment market has incredible bargains out there which tells me that there is a GLUT of telescopes out there. When I was in high school you couldn't purchase quality optics for love nor money. Most of the stuff was beyond my resources at the time. Today, a kid with a paper route has the ability to purchase a used 8" SCT or a DOB with a couple of months earnings. This fact is one of the positive aspects of this glut, and is the seeds of resurrecting the hobby.

What will happen if Meade goes under? Sometimes when you can't get one thing it forces you to look at alternatives that you wouldn't have considered. I would say in the short term bargains will be had on SCTs as Meade inventory is blown out. Some will dump Meade SCTs fearing they will be orphaned. In the short term we may see a decline in prices. In the long term we see increases in prices for SCTs. Used SCTs may be more valuable as a result.

Now what will people do? They will look at options if the SCT gets too expensive. RCTs and reflectors comes to mind. More people will start out imaging with small refractors (which is supposed to be easier). Don't forget that Explore Scientific has a Schmidt Newt called the "David Leavy Comet Hunter" that could possibly be adapted to imaging needs. Maybe Meade going under and increasing the cost of SCTs may make something else viable? Computer tracked DOBs anyone?

The other factor is that because the SCT will get more expensive the MARGINS for making this type of scope will go up, thus opening the door for another competitor.

Meade, if you go under you will be missed. But whether Meade lives or dies will have little to do with the strength of the hobby or the availability of SCTs. Its the number of consumers in the hobby that will determine this. More consumers = more products and more choices.

In short we will all be fine, but the landscape may change. The "golden age" of cheap astronomy equipment may be over but if say hypothetically prices doubled for astronomy gear then the market would eventually correct itself. This would open the door for a new competitor.

Edited by Cotts (06/28/13 09:54 AM)


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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) *DELETED* [Re: Cotts]
      #5944305 - 06/28/13 06:53 AM

Post deleted by Cotts

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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5944339 - 06/28/13 07:53 AM

The fact that other astro companies are able to turn a buck tells me that it is possible to survive in this market. New ones have even started recently.

The bottom line is that Meade has been burning cash for a long time with no plan to deal with it other than to spend even more cash in the hope of a miracle product that would allow them to avoid dealing with the situation.

Spending from your savings for a couple of months while you are completing a big project isn't a problem. Spending more than you take in for YEARS is just denial and bad management. Getting out of that hole has to take priority over everything else.


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5944376 - 06/28/13 08:25 AM

Quote:

We're going the way of the ham radio clubs in the age of the smart phone.

The idea of Meade disappearing has a sort of unreality to it, as though it could never really happen, and Meade will continue under some conditions or other.
But Unitron is gone; Jaegers is gone; Tasco is gone; Cave is gone. Some of the biggest names from when I seriously entered the hobby, are just history. We could actually lose Meade completely. And anyone thinking we'd be better off with a single source for SCTs isn't thinking very clearly.

IMO.




I don't know about club attendance...but amateur radio licensing is up. Way up. And, doom and gloom aside, there are more amateur astronomers today than ever. Meade is not on the rocks/rock bottom because there are fewer amateurs or kids are no longer interested in telescopes and astronomy (they still are), it's because of poor management decisions and bungled product introductions over the last seven years.


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Madratter
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5944411 - 06/28/13 08:56 AM

As for the distribution of Sky and Telescope and Astronomy being down that is no surprise to me.

I subscribe to neither. I can get astro news on the net that is more current, and very similar in quality for free. That leaves a couple of pages per issue that might be of interest (the observing side of things). It isn't worth it to me, especially since I have good planning software.

I started subscribing to Sky and Telescope back in Sept. of 1968. But they lost me long ago.

If they had a magazine full of things like Uncle Rod's Astro Blog, I might come back as a customer.

As for Meade going out of business, I am no fan of Meade, and am definitely on the Celestron side of the fence. But I hate to see them go. Competition is good. Maybe the one saving grace is that there is so much used equipment out there that in a sense, it is competing with the new product.


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Mark Costello
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/08/05

Loc: Matthews, NC, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Brent Campbell]
      #5944433 - 06/28/13 09:17 AM

My guess is that if Meade goes under, Explore Scientific might move into the SCT market. It wouldn't surprise me if Scott Roberts is talking over the idea with his backers in Guangzhou. I for one hope that Meade survives. The merger with ES (buyout by Jinghua Optical Company) looks like a good deal since JOC has in the past made scopes for Meade anyway and Scott Roberts used to work for Meade. The idea of retrenching, keeping a few telescope lines and dropping the rest seems to me to be a necessary part of making it. On that note, the interesting thing to me are the big Meade advertisements on the back cover of the last few issues of Astronomy. They're all highlighting the LX850 and LX600 lines. It looks like they're banking primarily on those lines. There hasn't been a peep from them about the LX80 scopes which I would have thought would have been a good "bread and butter" line, that is, if they got the mount working correctly. There's hardly anything from Meade also about the LX90 or LX200. It does seem that they're hitching their wagon on the top drawer LX850 and LX600 lines. It's good that they've evidently got them working right out of the box....

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Madratter]
      #5944434 - 06/28/13 09:17 AM

The greatest obstacle to Meade's survival is right here! The CN forums!

They tell me Meade`s real money makers are the little Wal-Mart, department store scopes. Allowing that is true, and I don`t have the knowledge to dispute it, why is the company flirting with extinction? People buying those 'scopes are not repeat customers. They are unsophisticated. They don't know of Meade's precarious position.
So, they should be buying in the same numbers as ever and Meade should be healthy . . . if their real profits are in the little 'scopes.

But, they are decidely unhealthy! And everyone here, on CN, knows it. I submit that a very significant fraction of "sophisticated" amateurs are here, on CN.

And, the one subliminal message I have gotten from these forums is:
Don't buy Meade!
Their products just don't work!
Their customer service is non-existent!

I don't own Meade but that is sort of beside the point.

What is important is, because of CN, I know all the company's "dirty laundry" and would never consider buying a Meade product now!

If Meade dies, CN killed it!


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caheaton
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/26/09

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Madratter]
      #5944470 - 06/28/13 09:42 AM

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet. If Meade were to disappear, Synta may not be left with a monopoly. It may well open a window for JOC (Explore Scientific) to expand their product offerings to include SCT's, etc. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them step in and at least test the waters.

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Madratter
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: dawziecat]
      #5944490 - 06/28/13 09:53 AM

Quote:


If Meade dies, CN killed it!




While CN might or might not be healthy for Meade, CN would not kill it if they made scopes that people were enthusiastic about. Then they would come to CN and say what a great scope they got.

I dislike Meade for the very simple reason I got a poor scope from the them way back in the day (astigmatism). They may have improved, but that experience stays with me. I made due with that scope for about 9 years. Then I bought a Celestron, which was far better in quality.

What does that mean? Almost nothing on its own. Statistically it is too small a sample.

I think what killed Meade was poor management. They did a lot of little things wrong. I've seen way too many posts about things like how you couldn't buy parts for Meade while you could for Celestron, etc. And ultimately, it is management that decides on how important quality is, what products to produce, when to release them (even if they aren't ready for primetime), etc.

Edited by Madratter (06/28/13 09:54 AM)


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