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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: greedyshark]
      #5977124 - 07/18/13 12:50 AM

They were calling them "Saturn by Meade" in the stores. Getting bought by a supplier of that stuff, I have trouble shrugging strongly enough.

The bigger problem here is the first money hasn't been an infusion- but loans at 10% interest. That's hard to understand given the general lack of cash coming in. It makes me suspect this is a factory looking for more stuff to have the lines making. If due diligence shows an import business on one hand, then they must say, "OK, we'll make that and pocket the internal costs eating Meade." If it shows a factory in Mexico housing worn-out equipment, then they'd say, "No problem- we'll do that here, too."

So, manufacturing-wise, it makes a lot of sense. Buying Meade has lots of precedents in the industry I work in- companies may be in trouble or not- but they get acquired just to get their product lines and data packages. The new owner takes the data packages and offers them for sale with the original names. They never (and I do mean never) attempt to run the original site, though they may keep certain personnel and management persons on the payroll if they serve a purpose.

It wouldn't be what was originally called "Meade," but then again, neither is what is currently called "Meade."

As for the story of the LX850, I have to say, being impressed by its specs after the LX800 fiasco is interesting, since they were the same specs the LX800 had failed to meet.

We'll get to see as time goes on how this shakes out.

In the case of Celestron, Synta was the maker of a whole series of GEMs up to the CG-5 and a full line of telescopes topping out with 6" achromats and a full line of Newtonians. It meant the buyer had some real muscle for exactly what was in the Celestron product line, and they obviously knew what to do to make SCTs in Taiwan. In comparison, Sunny is at a level where I can't help but wonder what will happen if they try to take on the more advanced Meade products.

-Rich


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jimb1001
sage
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Reged: 11/14/09

Loc: Florida
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5977173 - 07/18/13 01:44 AM

So many in this thread have such a parochial view.

My guess is there are billions of people on this planet who have never heard of Cloudy Nights, but may have heard the "Meade" name from seeing an ad or even a Meade scope in person.

In some places American technology still has cachet. Still the only people to have put a man on the moon, and all that. The only country that can drone strike you and you'll never see it coming. Able to monitor every phone call in the world.

A Chinese company that makes low end telescopes could really make use of the Meade name, product line and engineering know how to market into lots of places that don't know or care about Meade's current financial situation.

While the mood in this thread is "lol, who would ever buy from Meade again" I'm sure there are lots of people the world round who would love to and feel real good about it.

This thread has generated a lot of very narrow perspectives with very little awareness of the new realities of a much wider world than existed just a few years ago.


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rdandrea]
      #5977223 - 07/18/13 03:04 AM

I quoted about 1 1/2 pages of the 10-Q. The document is 18 pages long, not counting attached Exhibits.

Why? Because some people want to know what is happening. What is the situation? What is the reality? What will happen if ?? I thought is useful to put the latest facts known by Meade Management in this thread.

No one knows how this will resolve, not even the Meade or Sunny management. Regardless --Andrew's pronouncements, Sunny has not done due diligence. They just obtained the right to do so yesterday.

The completion of due diligence to Sunny's satisfaction will bring them to a decision point. They will decide whether to press forward or not. If they press forward, I speculate the terms of the Merger will be modified to terms favorable to them.

You recall that JOC initially proposed $5M to but the outstanding shares. After due diligence, JOC dropped the offer to $4M. Meade turned it down. JOC raised the offer to $4.5M. The situation seemed to stagnate there until yesterday. An educated guess was that JOC was not seeing a good future going forward, otherwise a deal would have been done in a timely manner.

In the present situation, Meade is at a severe disadvantage. They need to borrow from Sunny at 10% to keep the lights on. You may have noticed Meade has started to show some unpaid lease obligations. Backs are against the wall, Sunny can dictate terms and Meade will have little recourse.

If a deal is done, we will learn the price paid for the shares only. Meade will be a privately owned subsidiary and there will be no announcements about future financing, the management team, planning, products or anything else, unless Sunny Group releases it. Same as Celestron.


Quote:

Did you have to post most of the 10-Q? Most of us are smart enough to find it all by ourselves.




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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5977244 - 07/18/13 03:54 AM

Quote:

I thought is useful to put the latest facts known by Meade Management in this thread.



As an outsider you know nothing what's going on behind the closed boardroom doors and in the Meade hallways.

Edited by Starman27 (07/18/13 08:01 AM)


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5977254 - 07/18/13 04:30 AM

Lest people here think I am a Meade hater, I am not. Iím completely satisfied with the one Meade product I have, a Solarmax 90. And I was pleasantly surprised of that result because of the way it was purchased.

You may recall when Meade bought Coronado they first moved the production to Irvine. I always had a mild interest in buying one, but the price seemed a bit high for a single use product, so it didnít happen.

A while later, Meade decided to move Coronado production to Mexico. In the time it took to do that and train new people, production was interrupted. To re-introduce the Coronado products when they became available, Meade offered a very good pre-buy price for the first units coming out of the new facility. I had a few thoughts about whether this new team would be good at the job, being trained by a team that had learned directly from Coronado. Iíve also had a lot of people working for me step up to meet a new challenge. I gambled and went for it.

When I received it about 4 months later, I was pleasantly surprised it was about 4 weeks earlier than expected. It seemed to work well, and although I had no experience with Ha, exchanging emails with others suggested to me it was a good etalon. A few weeks later I posted my experience on a Solar forum. Others were glad to hear the good news. Theyíve made many since then and you donít see forums filled with Solarmax problems.

Later I learned the Solar forum on Cloudy nights was very active, so I migrated to it. It is a good one. While reading that forum, we all heard about the ďrustĒ problem Meade had inherited from Coronado design. Meade took the bull by the horns and fixed all returned units with a new design etalon, even if out of warranty. The only quibble people had was the wait time. You had to ship your unit back to Irvine, and when enough were collected they took the truck load to Mexico the get fixed. Similar delay for the returns.

I was a bit surprised when Lunt turned up with new competitive products. Usually just about anyone close to a business has to sign a non-competition agreement when the business is bought.

Anticipating a retirement scope for my AZ observatory, I did a lot of research on the Meade 16Ē. Some were problematic and some were good. The problem with the problematic units was shipping back to Irvine. Anyway I passed on the Meade.

I too think that the JOC-ES-Meade Europe would be the best out for Meade, but the people that are spending their money make the choices.

I recall reading that Meade Europe was ~25% of Meade sales. What will happen there if Sunny do make a deal? I donít know but someone will probably tell us.


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Alph]
      #5977259 - 07/18/13 04:38 AM

"...The truly educated man is that rare individual who can separate reality from illusion...."


I only know what Meade Management tells me, and the rest of the world, in a public disclosure. I say again, the post is verbatim, except for my comments in italics, from a Meade SEC Filing released a few days ago.

If you look at it, you will find the signatures of the CEO and the CFO attesting to the accuracy of the document.

Quote:

Quote:

I thought is useful to put the latest facts known by Meade Management in this thread.




As an outsider you know nothing what's going on behind the closed boardroom doors and in the Meade hallways.





Edited by EddWen (07/19/13 01:12 PM)


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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5977263 - 07/18/13 04:45 AM

AIUI non-competition agreements usually have a time limit, maybe two or three years.
Lunt essentially spent that time developing new solar scopes, with the development paid for by Meade.

Chris


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5977373 - 07/18/13 07:49 AM

Quote:


As amateur astronomers, we see the mistakes Meade has made and we tend to think these are the cause of their current problems. But from what David and Edd (and others) have said, it seems most likely that these mistakes are simply the symptoms of a company in extreme financial distress making a last gasp, hoping against hope that they can pull it out.

It wasn't that they didn't know it was unwise to send out a new product with limited testing and QC, rather, they simply had no choice, no opportunity to do it the right way, the way they would have liked to have done it.

We can discuss the problems with the mounts and the marketing but something else was going on that caused all this.

Jon




Jon,
That is an excellent summary and is a pretty fair statement of what has transpired over the past 12 years (they didn't get into this overnight). Most end users/customers (who didn't follow stock financials) didn't see or know that this was happening and Meade did a reasonable job covering for this until around the last 5-6 years.

Meade is unique because it is publicly held, so there is a huge degree of transparency to its operations and finances that we really don't have elsewhere in the industry. It is also valuable to know that while, perhaps 15 years ago or so, this information somewhat mirrored what was going on in the industry, that is not the case anymore and hasn't been since around 2007-2008.

I know many of us hope for the best, whatever that may be. However, Meade is making moves and decisions right now under a great deal of financial stress and with little or no fallback positions. This increases the likelihood for unanticipated outcomes and bad decisions. While it is easy to wonder why their management and board didn't take certain measures earlier or down a different path, it is much harder to actually be in their shoes making those decisions and knowing when the right time is.

Decisions affecting the outcome will ultimately be made by mostly non-astronomy folks who are motivated by economic interests, not loyal Meade customers, not CN'ers, not those who want a competitor to remain in the marketplace. Emotions count for considerably less when facing financial exiguity. We should not be surprised if the outcomes here are not what we want.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5977425 - 07/18/13 08:34 AM

Maybe they'll rebox the LX600....1000X, Actuallly SEE the Planets! Hey folks, this one really works (sometimes)! Put big splashy Pics of Saturn and the Sun (even though you include a warning not to look at the sun thru the scope, ever notice that?) and lots of other space goodies, put it on a flimsy mount at WalMart at $200.....(well, that's one possible scenereo).

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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: csrlice12]
      #5977440 - 07/18/13 08:44 AM

One thing that should come out of this is the concept of becoming incorporated and publicily traded. Inccorporation is NOT the easy, "Only $100 to incorporate, protect your assets" you hear advertised on the radio. It is a morass of rules and regulations and tax structures beyond the grasp of many. It is NOT the panecea of business structures; in fact it it the business equivalence of the Titantic, huge, and hard to make steering adjustments.

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ken svp120
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/19/04

Loc: Ohio
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: csrlice12]
      #5977529 - 07/18/13 09:44 AM

Quote:

One thing that should come out of this is the concept of becoming incorporated and publicily traded. Inccorporation is NOT the easy, "Only $100 to incorporate, protect your assets" you hear advertised on the radio. It is a morass of rules and regulations and tax structures beyond the grasp of many. It is NOT the panecea of business structures; in fact it it the business equivalence of the Titantic, huge, and hard to make steering adjustments.




Wrong.

Don't mix the two ideas. Incorporating is easy and cheap. I've done it. Because you form a corporation DOES NOT mean you MUST go public. Going public is a completely seperate issue from forming a corporation and is clearly not the model for every entity's every situation. A corporation can be a very limited number of people who operate lean and mean. Equating it to the Titanic as a blanket statement is incorrect.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Alph]
      #5977568 - 07/18/13 10:03 AM

Quote:


. I think Meade guys must be getting a good laugh out of this thread.




If so, good. I doubt there is much levity around the Meade shop these days.


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: ken svp120]
      #5977582 - 07/18/13 10:09 AM

Quote:

Quote:

One thing that should come out of this is the concept of becoming incorporated and publicily traded. Inccorporation is NOT the easy, "Only $100 to incorporate, protect your assets" you hear advertised on the radio. It is a morass of rules and regulations and tax structures beyond the grasp of many. It is NOT the panecea of business structures; in fact it it the business equivalence of the Titantic, huge, and hard to make steering adjustments.




Wrong.

Don't mix the two ideas. Incorporating is easy and cheap. I've done it. Because you form a corporation DOES NOT mean you MUST go public. Going public is a completely seperate issue from forming a corporation and is clearly not the model for every entity's every situation. A corporation can be a very limited number of people who operate lean and mean. Equating it to the Titanic as a blanket statement is incorrect.





Ken beat me to the punch!

THOUGH in fairness to csrlice12 he said "incorporated AND publicly" traded. Creating a C-Corp is very easy, and there are definitely advantages to doing so. Our small business is a C-Corp.

Becoming "publicly" traded is a whole different beast and is a massive resource hog. Even as the company I am in grows, we have absolutely no plans of going public. Way too much headache and expense!


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5977583 - 07/18/13 10:10 AM

Dude, re-read what you wrote. People are going to suddenly start buying Meade telescopes now that it will be under Chinese ownership because somehow that makes them feel a connection with drone strikes? Really?

-Rich

Quote:

So many in this thread have such a parochial view.

My guess is there are billions of people on this planet who have never heard of Cloudy Nights, but may have heard the "Meade" name from seeing an ad or even a Meade scope in person.

In some places American technology still has cachet. Still the only people to have put a man on the moon, and all that. The only country that can drone strike you and you'll never see it coming. Able to monitor every phone call in the world.

A Chinese company that makes low end telescopes could really make use of the Meade name, product line and engineering know how to market into lots of places that don't know or care about Meade's current financial situation.

While the mood in this thread is "lol, who would ever buy from Meade again" I'm sure there are lots of people the world round who would love to and feel real good about it.

This thread has generated a lot of very narrow perspectives with very little awareness of the new realities of a much wider world than existed just a few years ago.




Edited by Starhawk (07/18/13 10:12 AM)


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5977591 - 07/18/13 10:12 AM

Quote:

A Chinese company that makes low end telescopes could really make use of the Meade name, product line and engineering know how to market into lots of places that don't know or care about Meade's current financial situation.





Yeah, soon there will be a Meade telescope in every home in Botswana and Bangladesh...and a Studebaker in every garage.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: ColoHank]
      #5977608 - 07/18/13 10:20 AM

Maybe that post is meant to be funny. If so, I am in envy of that man's sense of irony and cunning wit.

-Rich


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5977650 - 07/18/13 10:45 AM

I'm still re-reading it and laughing to about it. Clearly he hasn't been following the thread or he would know no one has claimed people won't buy from Meade because it is under Chinese ownership. Like what are they going to do, not buy from Celestron, instead? Or maybe they would happily buy from Orion because it's US owned and their catalog of hardware is from China?

Too funny. Not as funny as people suddenly starting to buy Meade because it makes them feel closer to drone strikes or universal phone surveillance, but still funny. I need to watch Zero Dark Thirty again while paying closer attention- it seems I missed the scene where the SEALs and the CIA agent hold a star party with lx200s at the FOB while talking over their plans.

On a more serious note, I would anticipate Sunny will simply move the product line to their factory. Any tooling of practical utility will be shipped straight from Mexico. The California activity will likely continue as a receiving center and customer service center. What will they do for a design and development activity? Now that is far from obvious since the newest numbers from Meade don't support having a dedicated staff for that.

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (07/18/13 10:46 AM)


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: bicparker]
      #5977667 - 07/18/13 10:52 AM

Quote:

Decisions affecting the outcome will ultimately be made by mostly non-astronomy folks who are motivated by economic interests, not loyal Meade customers, not CN'ers, not those who want a competitor to remain in the marketplace. Emotions count for considerably less when facing financial exiguity. We should not be surprised if the outcomes here are not what we want.




David:

Again with my limited experience, the situation at Meade harks back to the bankruptcy of Schwinn bicycles. Schwinn sold bicycles at many price points but for more than 50 years, the Schwinn Paramounts had been at the top. Unlike their other bikes which were almost entirely manufactured in Asia, the Paramounts had always been handmade in the US, first in Chicago but since 1979, in a factory in Waterford, Wisconsin.

When Schwinn went under, Richard Schwinn was able to purchase the Paramount factory though not the name. So today, the legacy of the silver brazed, Schwinn Paramount continues at Waterford Precision Cycles.

It maybe that whatever becomes of Meade, important pieces will remain in someone's hands to continue what went before.

Jon


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5977683 - 07/18/13 10:59 AM

Jon, if part of Meade survived, it might be, as you point out in your example, be the part too far from what Sunny does to really make sense to them, but as far as we are concerned, it would be some of the best there was. So, the OTAs might be silver anodized and the nameplate might say something like California Telescopes, but we'd know the score, and that wouldn't be so bad.

-Rich


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5977770 - 07/18/13 11:54 AM

Jon (I said Rich, but I meant Jon),
Things may turn out just great for Meade depending upon how they get through this crucible. But the people making the decisions now may or may not have certain product continuance as their priorities. Many of these people are not Meade management or the board.

The players now who can significantly influence Meade's path for better or for worse, as I see it:

1) SOI (Sunny), not only as a suitor, but as a creditor now.
2) FTC when they do any anti-trust review
3) Rosenthal and Rosenthal, Meade's biggest creditor with a mostly funded line of credit and open demand and call options on the note.
4) MIT Cap (we don't how many shares they own)
5) Any other Meade creditors
6) Shareholders who may sue (only speculative at this point, but a real consideration) and shareholders who may want to exert minority interests
7) Meade's management and board

When a company gets in this shape, other people and dynamics take control. It is great if some white knight swoops in, but that doesn't happen very often.

I think that this SOI deal may be a good one for Meade if they can get through the next few weeks against any obstacles thrown up by folks from the above list.

Edited by bicparker (07/18/13 12:13 PM)


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