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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Starhawk
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The plot thickens (Meade takeover)
      #5928993 - 06/19/13 11:02 AM

Two items:

(1) stockholders have launched an investigation into whether Meade management shopped around for the best takeover deal.

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Levi & Korsinsky, LLP Announces Investigation into Possible Breaches of Fiduciary Duty by the Board of Meade Instruments Corp. in Connection with the Sale of the Company to JOC North America LLC

(2) there is now a second takeover offer:

MIT Capital Inc. Proposes To Acquire Meade Instruments Corp. For $3.65 Per Share In Cash
-$3.65 Per Share Cash Consideration is Superior to the Proposed JOC North America LLC Agreement of $3.45 per share-
-Offer Gives Meade Stockholders Greater Value and Certainty of a Transaction-
-Tender Offer Commences to Expedite Timing of Transaction-
-Combination Creates a Global Optics Company with Meade's Brand for Generations to Come-


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5929055 - 06/19/13 11:32 AM

I hope I am wrong...but this is just the sort of thing that can doom the company.

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t.r.
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5929080 - 06/19/13 11:47 AM

Ya know, sometimes our own economy and laws hinder what's best...I remember when Celestron and Meade wanted to merge, but the government would have none of it. Oh, what could have been!

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mayidunk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5929123 - 06/19/13 12:22 PM

Quote:

I hope I am wrong...but this is just the sort of thing that can doom the company.



If they're a private equity firm, then you can probably kiss Meade good-bye if they decide to run it into the ground, and then sell it off piece by piece!



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Eigen
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5929180 - 06/19/13 01:02 PM

You obviously know very little of what PE firms do, besides what you have learned from mainstream news sensationalism. There is absolutely no business sense behind acquiring Meade and selling it piece by piece. It would be like buying a Patek Philippe, tearing apart and and selling it off as metal scrap.

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Eigen]
      #5929206 - 06/19/13 01:18 PM

Quote:

You obviously know very little of what PE firms do, besides what you have learned from mainstream news sensationalism. There is absolutely no business sense behind acquiring Meade and selling it piece by piece. It would be like buying a Patek Philippe, tearing apart and and selling it off as metal scrap.




In my view, there is really only one business strategy that would make sense. Buy Meade and then sell it to Jinghua Optical. Either that or entice Scott Roberts and crew to walk away from Explore Scientific...

Meade is in dire need of intelligent leadership, someone who knows the market, the hobby and the company...

Meade is not Hewlett-Packard where you can hire a new CEO from a different field to run the company into the ground. You need someone at the help who understands that giant twist up eyecups don't sell but the same eyepiece with torpedo shape is a huge success.

Jon


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RealSorin
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5929264 - 06/19/13 01:36 PM

An acquisition seems to be the only way that Meade won't run into bankruptcy, which is now looking increasingly likely regardless. They clearly need fresh leadership and significant reduction in expenses. This from their Annual report on May 30th:

Quote:

The Company's financial statements for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2013 were prepared assuming the Company would continue as a going concern; however, the Company's declining revenues, recurring losses, weakened financial position and reduced liquidity raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. The Company's board of directors decided in January 2013 that the Company should consider its strategic alternatives to preserve and maximize shareholder value, which ultimately culminated in the signing on May 17, 2013 of the Agreement and Plan of Merger which, subject to shareholder approval, would allow for the outstanding shares of the Company to be purchased for $3.45 per share or approximately $4.5 million.

Due to the Company's declining revenues, recurring losses, limited liquidity and weakened financial position, the Company may not be able to operate long enough execute that planned transaction. Net sales during the three months ending May 31, 2013 are expected to be approximately $3 million, substantially below the net sales of approximately $3.8 million during the three months ended February 28, 2013 and net sales of approximately $4.2 million during the three months ended May 31, 2012. Due to the lower net sales levels the Company is encountering, the Company expects to incur substantial losses during the period through the close of the transaction.

In addition, the Company has limited and decreasing working capital and is finding it increasingly difficult to operate normally. The Company's net debt, which consists of the net balance owed on the Company's credit facility less cash, was $92 thousand at February 28, 2013 compared to $371 thousand at April 30, 2013.

In addition, as is common with public company transactions, a number of law firms are investigating the recently announced merger transaction and may choose to file a lawsuit against the Company in an effort to obtain financial dispensation from the Company. Such actions, or other factors, could cause further delays in the close of the planned transaction and/or result in additional costs. If such events occur, the Company may not have sufficient working capital to operate through the close of the planned transaction. If the Company is not able to obtain additional capital, it may be unable to execute the planned transaction and the Company may then have to file bankruptcy and cease operations.




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mayidunk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Eigen]
      #5929327 - 06/19/13 01:59 PM

Quote:

You obviously know very little of what PE firms do, besides what you have learned from mainstream news sensationalism. There is absolutely no business sense behind acquiring Meade and selling it piece by piece. It would be like buying a Patek Philippe, tearing apart and and selling it off as metal scrap.



Meade is no Patek Phillipe, they are a foundering company, and unless these guys are a bunch of "angel investors," their interest in Meade is likely more along the lines of how they can maximize the return on their investments in the shortest amount of time.

Here is an excerpt from an article published on the New Yorker Magazine's website on January 30, 2012 by James Surowiecki, entitled, "Private Equity." I will grant you that, whether or not the following applies in this particular case, remains to be seen. However, this type of "investing" in a company has been seen way too often, the results often being grim for the company they invest in.

Quote:

The real reason that we should be concerned about private equity’s expanding power lies in the way these firms have become increasingly adept at using financial gimmicks to line their pockets, deriving enormous wealth not from management or investing skills but, rather, from the way the U.S. tax system works. Indeed, for an industry that’s often held up as an exemplar of free-market capitalism, private equity is surprisingly dependent on government subsidies for its profits. Financial engineering has always been central to leveraged buyouts. In a typical deal, a private-equity firm buys a company, using some of its own money and some borrowed money. It then tries to improve the performance of the acquired company, with an eye toward cashing out by selling it or taking it public. The key to this strategy is debt: the model encourages firms to borrow as much as possible, since, just as with a mortgage, the less money you put down, the bigger your potential return on investment. The rewards can be extraordinary: when Romney was at Bain, it supposedly earned eighty-eight per cent a year for its investors. But piles of debt also increase the risk that companies will go bust.

This approach has one obvious virtue: if a private-equity firm wants to make money, it has to improve the value of the companies it buys. Sometimes the improvement may be more cosmetic than real, but historically private-equity firms have in principle had a powerful incentive to make companies perform better. In the past decade, though, that calculus changed. Having already piled companies high with debt in order to buy them, many private-equity funds had their companies borrow even more, and then used that money to pay themselves huge “special dividends.” This allowed them to recoup their initial investment while keeping the same ownership stake. Before 2000, big special dividends were not that common. But between 2003 and 2007 private-equity funds took more than seventy billion dollars out of their companies. These dividends created no economic value—they just redistributed money from the company to the private-equity investors.

As a result, private-equity firms are increasingly able to profit even if the companies they run go under—an outcome made much likelier by all the extra borrowing—and many companies have been getting picked clean. In 2004, for instance, Wasserstein & Company bought the thriving mail-order fruit retailer Harry and David. The following year, Wasserstein and other investors took out more than a hundred million in dividends, paid for with borrowed money—covering their original investment plus a twenty-three per cent profit—and charged Harry and David millions in “management fees.” Last year, Harry and David defaulted on its debt and dumped its pension obligations. In other words, Wasserstein failed to improve the company’s performance, failed to meet its obligations to creditors, screwed its workers, and still made a profit. That’s not exactly how capitalism is supposed to work.




Edited by mayidunk (06/19/13 02:03 PM)


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belgrade
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Loc: Frisco, TX
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5929369 - 06/19/13 02:15 PM

And how is this related to "Cats and Casses" forum?!

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mayidunk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Eigen]
      #5929371 - 06/19/13 02:15 PM

Quote:

You obviously know very little of what PE firms do, besides what you have learned from mainstream news sensationalism. There is absolutely no business sense behind acquiring Meade and selling it piece by piece. It would be like buying a Patek Philippe, tearing apart and and selling it off as metal scrap.



And, yes, you are right! They wouldn't sell Meade off piecemeal. In fact, that's rarely the case! However, by borrowing as much money as they can against Meade's assets, they can still load Meade up with a mountain of debt, and then just leave them, and their workers, in a lurch.

Edited by mayidunk (06/19/13 02:16 PM)


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mayidunk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: belgrade]
      #5929393 - 06/19/13 02:23 PM

Quote:

And how is this related to "Cats and Casses" forum?!



We stand to possibly lose a company that might still be able to recover, and go back to making affordable telescopes of high quality! If JOC buys them, that may happen. If a PE firm buys them, it may not.


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: belgrade]
      #5929558 - 06/19/13 03:44 PM

Quote:

And how is this related to "Cats and Casses" forum?!




How is it not?


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Jared
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5929659 - 06/19/13 04:44 PM

Frankly, I'm unclear how MIT Capital envisions making money on this deal. Break it up and sell of the pieces? Everything but the core business line has already been sold off. They list their expertise in distribution channels and the ability to get Meade into emerging markets as their major value-add, but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me--I don't think any of us see the channel as being Mead's major business issue. Are they just hoping to turn around and spin off to JOC at a higher value than Meade has been able to accomplish on their own? I'm not an M&A expert by any means, but I'm still not sure how they hope to make money on this one.

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belgrade
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5929672 - 06/19/13 04:52 PM

I understand Meade's importance for the hobby and I'm all for its survival in any form or ownership which will keep it a company that makes astro-equipment (including "Cats and Casses"). However, I do believe that we either need a separate forum to be established called, for example, "News" or "Manufacturers" or stop reporting in more than one forum (which deals with, frankly, other stuff), whether Meade - or any other business - will/can/should/must survive. Just my 2 cents no one asked for...

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Gil V
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: belgrade]
      #5929679 - 06/19/13 04:57 PM

C'mon, there are very few threads like this. Certainly not enough for it's own category.

Since I lived through this at Criterion, I'm watching with interest.


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: belgrade]
      #5929690 - 06/19/13 05:02 PM

I haven't cross-posted this subject. This thread is on this forum and nowhere else.

As for why this is here, ask just about anyone who makes SCTs and they will say, verbatim, "Meade and Celestron." Not "Celestron and Meade," or anything else. This chain of events appears to be the beginning of a seismic shift in the hobby and may have profound consequences on cost and availability of related products for many years. And if affects Cats and Casses more than any other area.

If you want a new forum opened for this single topic, email and suggest it to the mods.

In the meantime, please get your facts straight before you accuse someone of breaking the TOS with a multi-forum cross-post.

-Rich


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Aquatone
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: belgrade]
      #5929696 - 06/19/13 05:05 PM

Quote:

I understand Meade's importance for the hobby and I'm all for its survival in any form or ownership which will keep it a company that makes astro-equipment (including "Cats and Casses"). However, I do believe that we either need a separate forum to be established called, for example, "News" or "Manufacturers" or stop reporting in more than one forum (which deals with, frankly, other stuff), whether Meade - or any other business - will/can/should/must survive. Just my 2 cents no one asked for...




Really? Meade is one of the most important vendors of Catidioptric telescopes. The implications of their acquisition or demise would have significant implications outside of the brand specific forum. This forum is exactly the place for that discussion. Why try to shut down a civil and informative conversation that all other parties are contributing to with postive intent?

Chris


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mark379
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Aquatone]
      #5929710 - 06/19/13 05:14 PM

I wonder if Meade does go bankrupt and disbanded if Celestron would buy the tooling for the 16 and 20 in scopes? Or the f8 system lx600 too? Just a thought...
Your Thoughts?


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MikeBOKC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mark379]
      #5929726 - 06/19/13 05:21 PM

I visited last week with someone who is active in the industry but has no connection to any single manufacturer. He said at least five Meade shareholders have already filed suits to block the Jinghua acquisition/merger, which would match the report of a second slightly higher offer. From the language in that annual report it would appear that either Meade gets bought soon or it goes belly up, in which case one supposes its stock, patents and other assets would be tied up in bankruptcy court for some time. With lawsuits now there are lawyers involved, and little good ever comes of that if one expects a rapid outcome. If I was betting I would guess that the Meade product line will re-emerge at some point under one or more alternate brands.

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Stew57
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5929745 - 06/19/13 05:36 PM

Meade certainly has some patents that Celestron would want. Not having to press align while an alignment star drifted into position for one. I can't see Meade's technology just vanishing, but the sum of the individual parts may be worth more than the value of the whole.

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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Stew57]
      #5929754 - 06/19/13 05:40 PM

Quote:

Meade certainly has some patents that Celestron would want. Not having to press align while an alignment star drifted into position for one. I can't see Meade's technology just vanishing, but the sum of the individual parts may be worth more than the value of the whole.




Is that part of a Meade patent? Never heard that.


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Stew57
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5929772 - 06/19/13 05:49 PM

See 4th post in "Aligning Meades and Celestrons?". I should have been more specific. Sorry for the confusion.

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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Stew57]
      #5929780 - 06/19/13 05:53 PM

That post is not correct. The Celestrons worked the same way well before the days of the Meade North and Level lawsuit. That's exactly the behavior of the earliest NS5s and 8s as well as the NS GPSes...

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Stew57
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5929803 - 06/19/13 06:03 PM

I never had a Celestron fork, just Meade. I wonder why Celestron doesn't change this. as it seems tracking being on would make it easier to align.

Anyway I am sure there is some valuable Meade technology that other companies would love to scoop up. The question is it more valuable lump sum or piecemeal to the share holder?


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jrbarnett
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jared]
      #5929821 - 06/19/13 06:16 PM

Maybe MIT Capital has another buyer already lined up who doesn't want to deal with taking it private or managing a public company. What if, for example, Synta was bidding by proxy through MIT. Let MIT disentangle the company from the shareholders by offering a 20 cent premium, and then transfer to Synta just those assets Synta wants (SCT biz to kill it and strengthen Celestron's position in that segment and Coronado solar, to inject capital for R&D and production cost reduction and bury little Lunt to make a little new money).

Going public was the stupidest thing ever for Meade customers. It hasn't been a good deal for shareholders either. It did, however, make the founders rich. Oooh hoo take the money and run!

- Jim


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johnnyha
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Stew57]
      #5929836 - 06/19/13 06:25 PM

The interesting thing to me here is that Meade is for sale for a little over 4 million, or as viewers of "Million Dollar Listing New York" would know, about the price of a 3 bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5929846 - 06/19/13 06:33 PM

I would have thought shareholders would have welcomed the merger with ES as proof the company would be in good hands. But all it seems is people would sooner let Meade go bankrupt for the sake of 7% more return on the stock price, which mind you was at $1.42 before the JOC offer was announced.

I have had really high hopes for ES/ Meade.

-Rich


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WesC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5929875 - 06/19/13 06:56 PM

OK, lets not be too naive or idealistic here.

Shareholders, as a rule, are interested in only one thing. Profit. They care about the company, its products patents or customers only as long as the value of their stock increases, they don't care about anything else. When they shares dive and their investment in the company becomes a loss, they want out at the highest value they can get. That means selling the company for the highest share price--regardless of the intentions of the buyer. And I'm sorry, but these dime-a-dozen "private equity"/"investment capital"/"acquisition" firms do one thing... swoop in and take failing companies, milk every last cent of value out of them and dump the carcass in a barrel. Period. They're collection agencies milking debt for profit. Bottom feeders.

At this point Meade is lost, one way or another, from an investment standpoint. Shareholders only want to get the most amount of money for their shares and they don't give a rip about what happens to Meade after that.

You have two buyers. One that wants to turn the company around and move it forward, another that wants to gut any remaining value from it for the shareholders and their own profit. Whomever has the deepest pockets and can satisfy the greed of the shareholders will win. End of story.


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drollere
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5929880 - 06/19/13 06:57 PM

i cannot parse this deal based on public info i can find. MIT is actually bidding through an investment subsidiary "Merger Sub", owned by "MIT Capital Inc." of San Jose, CA ... all information is attributed to jason tian, CEO of MITC and "VictoryOne Inc." neither tian nor any of corporations just listed has a web presence or documentation other than this press release.

the salient detail is that MITC has been in discussion with meade for the past sixteen months before its looming "liquidity event" and "submitted" three prior offers, which makes it likely that meade senior management is party to the transaction:

"Holders of Company common stock should be aware that Meade's executive officers and directors may have interests in the merger that are different from, or in addition to, the interests of holders of Company common stock in general."

the stated business goal, to "revive the Meade brand by creating new markets for Meade products and attract new generations of Meade fans through our sales and distribution channels in emerging markets" strikes me as generic executive smokespeak and implausible at face. what distribution channels, which new products? dude, you don't even have a web page.

without disparaging meade any more than necessary, it's factual to state that meade senior management has made poor decisions in the past, so it is unlikely that this represents any good news for meade's employees or customers -- especially if JOC walks away from this sockpuppet bidding war.

press release HERE.


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WesC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: drollere]
      #5929889 - 06/19/13 07:04 PM

Bruce, exactly right. This is an ugly time for Meade, the company has been run into the ground and the top execs are scrambling for whatever $$$$$$ they can squeeze out of it.

Its no surprise that you can't find anything on this deal, these companies hide their games within shells of other companies in a chain of legal jargon and layers of secrecy so as to "protect the interests of the investors." In plain English, its sleight of hand to hide the fact that the execs and shareholders see more financial gain for themselves by setting up a quickie "investment" firm to play all sorts of insider numbers games and suck a few more million from the corpse of Meade before trashing it.

This is the exact same thing that happened with Digital Domain, Hostess and many other companies over the last few decades.

The small investors, customers and worst of all, employees suffer great loss to make a few stupid, but very rich people even richer.


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: drollere]
      #5929913 - 06/19/13 07:23 PM

Regardless of how this works out, thank you for posting this. I had wondered about the complete absence from the visible world this MITC group had outside of Meade press releases. This explains a lot. Like, it's pretty easy to mark on a calendar when this discussion must have started because the management focus shifted at that point.

Quote:

i cannot parse this deal based on public info i can find. MIT is actually bidding through an investment subsidiary "Merger Sub", owned by "MIT Capital Inc." of San Jose, CA ... all information is attributed to jason tian, CEO of MITC and "VictoryOne Inc." neither tian nor any of corporations just listed has a web presence or documentation other than this press release.

the salient detail is that MITC has been in discussion with meade for the past sixteen months before its looming "liquidity event" and "submitted" three prior offers, which makes it likely that meade senior management is party to the transaction:

"Holders of Company common stock should be aware that Meade's executive officers and directors may have interests in the merger that are different from, or in addition to, the interests of holders of Company common stock in general."

the stated business goal, to "revive the Meade brand by creating new markets for Meade products and attract new generations of Meade fans through our sales and distribution channels in emerging markets" strikes me as generic executive smokespeak and implausible at face. what distribution channels, which new products? dude, you don't even have a web page.

without disparaging meade any more than necessary, it's factual to state that meade senior management has made poor decisions in the past, so it is unlikely that this represents any good news for meade's employees or customers -- especially if JOC walks away from this sockpuppet bidding war.

press release HERE.




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Qwickdraw
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: WesC]
      #5929930 - 06/19/13 07:38 PM

Quote:

OK, lets not be too naive or idealistic here.

Shareholders, as a rule, are interested in only one thing. Profit. They care about the company, its products patents or customers only as long as the value of their stock increases, they don't care about anything else. When they shares dive and their investment in the company becomes a loss, they want out at the highest value they can get. That means selling the company for the highest share price--regardless of the intentions of the buyer. And I'm sorry, but these dime-a-dozen "private equity"/"investment capital"/"acquisition" firms do one thing... swoop in and take failing companies, milk every last cent of value out of them and dump the carcass in a barrel. Period. They're collection agencies milking debt for profit. Bottom feeders.

At this point Meade is lost, one way or another, from an investment standpoint. Shareholders only want to get the most amount of money for their shares and they don't give a rip about what happens to Meade after that.

You have two buyers. One that wants to turn the company around and move it forward, another that wants to gut any remaining value from it for the shareholders and their own profit. Whomever has the deepest pockets and can satisfy the greed of the shareholders will win. End of story.




Not always true, Many times shareholders are also employees who typically care a great deal about the welfare of the company.


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WesC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5929939 - 06/19/13 07:44 PM

I seriously doubt that is the case here. Wait and see...

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Mike in Tampa
super member


Reged: 05/19/13

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5929963 - 06/19/13 08:04 PM

Quote:

The interesting thing to me here is that Meade is for sale for a little over 4 million, or as viewers of "Million Dollar Listing New York" would know, about the price of a 3 bedroom apartment in Manhattan.




I was thinking the same thing, that the amounts being divulged (acquisitions, debt per quarter, etc.) seem small in the corporate world. How many CN members are there? I suggest we all go in and buy Meade for 4.5 Mil, fire the current leaders, and build some Killer Scopes.

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5929987 - 06/19/13 08:17 PM

Don't joke. If we did it, we'd be feared.

-Rich


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5929991 - 06/19/13 08:20 PM

Let's see, if we can get half the members of CN to pitch in, that's 30,000 people, and if each antes up $150, there's the $4.5 mil needed to take that ship!

-Rich


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Mike in Tampa
super member


Reged: 05/19/13

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5929995 - 06/19/13 08:23 PM

count me in for 2 shares then!

29,998 to go


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brucepech
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5930001 - 06/19/13 08:28 PM

Count me in for another two. (BTW, Chris Erickson started a similar thread in the Meade ACF/RCX/LX/GPS Forum early this morning. Worth a look.)

Edited by brucepech (06/19/13 08:32 PM)


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: brucepech]
      #5930014 - 06/19/13 08:34 PM

This is unusual- we've turned this corner and the thread is still on topic.

So, we're at 6/30k of the way. What else do we need?

-Rich


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Jared
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5930017 - 06/19/13 08:36 PM

Quote:

Maybe MIT Capital has another buyer already lined up who doesn't want to deal with taking it private or managing a public company. What if, for example, Synta was bidding by proxy through MIT. Let MIT disentangle the company from the shareholders by offering a 20 cent premium, and then transfer to Synta just those assets Synta wants (SCT biz to kill it and strengthen Celestron's position in that segment and Coronado solar, to inject capital for R&D and production cost reduction and bury little Lunt to make a little new money).

- Jim




Yeah, "flipping" may be the one scenario that makes sense for MIT Capital. I don't see breaking Meade up and selling off the patents, capital equipment, inventory, etc. as netting anywhere near enough to repay the investment.

Based on their current balance sheet, if MIT were going to liquidate the company and sell off the assets, in order to recover their investment and cover liabilities, they would need to sell off the assets at literally 80% of their book value (including intangibles). Considering that most of that is raw materials and finished goods, and considering the balance sheet numbers are from the end of February (and Meade is burning through roughly $1M in cash per quarter) it doesn't seem very plausible. They must be planning something else. The proxy idea seems reasonable. I can imagine Synta deciding that completely removing their one major competitor in the SCT world for a $4M investment being a "good deal."


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RGWOOD
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5930018 - 06/19/13 08:37 PM

Meade as it is is already a corpse. I just looked at their SEC filings and they have lost 90% of their cash to cover their 3 million dollar negative cash flow. I doubt they have the cash to cover the pay role now.
I do not think there is any intrinsic value to "breaking it up." There is about 8 million in inventory but that's it. I suspect MIT will either try to restructure to lower the operating expense, or sell out to another interested party. Probably both.


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Stew57
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: brucepech]
      #5930061 - 06/19/13 09:07 PM

I take 2! We are on a roll.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Stew57]
      #5930094 - 06/19/13 09:26 PM

RE: CN buyout...

Interesting idea. To REALLY pull it off the following steps are needed (the Entrepreneur in me thinking here...):

(1) I think the Ante should be $200 to provide a buffer on the bidding process.
(2) Another $200 should go into providing some working capital.
(3) We haggle a plan to reduce the debt owed or we all share in the NOL.
(4) Some one should keep a tally on people who pledge to participate. If the numbers REALLY get serious it could get very interesting.
(5) The investors/shareholders do something to help boost our new found business, like buy our products. As simple as an eyepiece or filter to an LX600 or LX850.

I have ideas on working with the brain trust and incorporating friendly partners, but I am very curious to see how this works out. I have seen crazy things happen in the internet. You never know!

Meade has a fantastic portfolio. If I had a bit of lead time and wasn't so tied up with my other major projects, I am convinced I can work with the key folks inside and out to put an end to the shenanigans.

Put me in for 100 shares at $200/share plus $10k in working capital if we do this.


P.S. - Jon, I actually love the twist cup eyepieces. I find them rather ingenious. I am going to buy a few more of them.


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jrbarnett
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5930170 - 06/19/13 10:09 PM

I'm in for $20k. No foolin'. But I want to be Chairman of the Board.

We'll hire Don Pensack as our CEO. We'll kill off everything except H Alpha and fork mounted SCTs, and then use the savings from the culling to make those much better than competitors can touch. We'll move manufacturing back to the US.

In 5 years, we'll be buying Celestron from Synta, ES from JOC and Lunt. Muahahahahaha! Then we'll take it public again, retire as rich men and women, and then let some group of Wallstreet bozos run it back into the ground so our kids can wash, rinse, repeat.

Two years ago three buddies and I talked about taking over Meade as a hobby project. It is that cheap.

Regards,

Jim


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ColoHank
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5930181 - 06/19/13 10:13 PM

It'd probably be a safer bet to buy lottery tickets.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5930217 - 06/19/13 10:30 PM

Quote:

It'd probably be a safer bet to buy lottery tickets.




No way, ColoHank. Lottery is very very VERY remote chance of success.

Startups, new business initiatives and successful turn arounds have much higher odds. Me? Within big corps I had a 100% success rate in my business development (FYI, I worked for Apple too...).

Small Business? I have had quite a bit of success helping other small businesses and very successful on my own. I have certainly had projects fail, but have had numerous successes and related awards.

From my perspective, way better odds than the lotto, way better odds.

Jon, I think we will fight over the board position, but we can work out something

I would not kill parts of the product line. There are ways we can parley a complete solution.

I would not kill off manufacturing in Mexico - too expensive to do over, but I would certainly review operations as one should always do. I would expand manufacturing there and in the Southwest, likely New Mexico and/or Texas.

Meade is a powerful brand and has a rich history. I feel with the right players and the CN "buyers" it would be a juggernaut in the community. Not only supporting the hobby, but also areas in government, commercial and research.

FYI, if just 1000 of us kick in $20k this deal would be done swiftly.

Think about it...


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OleCuss
member


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930241 - 06/19/13 10:42 PM

I'm really enjoying the idea of a CN Meade take-over.

NOT going to happen. MITC is not going to bow out in favor of a CN bid. I'm betting JOC won't either.

If there were a serious CN bid to take over Meade, then there would be so much litigation it'd make my head hurt - and the delay in getting a resolution would likely doom Meade.

To me it is interesting to remember that Meade does not own the European Meade brand. Exactly how that came about might be a very interesting part of how MITC is involved and might have interesting implications for JOC and maybe for Meade's board depending on how the various contracts are structured.

The other thing that I find extremely interesting is that JOC seems to make a lot of the Meade scopes. So if MITC should buy Meade USA, would JOC still supply those scopes? For that matter, if MITC were to buy Meade, would there be contractual implications regarding JOC's ability to sell the scopes it makes in Europe?

I find all this fascinating and I'd not want to touch a deal like this unless I'd had a team of lawyers and accountants examining the structure, the contracts, and the markets for months and months. IMHO, it'd be foolhardy to launch another bid at this time.


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nicklane1
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930243 - 06/19/13 10:43 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It'd probably be a safer bet to buy lottery tickets.




No way, ColoHank. Lottery is very very VERY remote chance of success.

Startups, new business initiatives and successful turn arounds have much higher odds. Me? Within big corps I had a 100% success rate in my business development (FYI, I worked for Apple too...).

Small Business? I have had quite a bit of success helping other small businesses and very successful on my own. I have certainly had projects fail, but have had numerous successes and related awards.

From my perspective, way better odds than the lotto, way better odds.

Jon, I think we will fight over the board position, but we can work out something

I would not kill parts of the product line. There are ways we can parley a complete solution.

I would not kill off manufacturing in Mexico - too expensive to do over, but I would certainly review operations as one should always do. I would expand manufacturing there and in the Southwest, likely New Mexico and/or Texas.

Meade is a powerful brand and has a rich history. I feel with the right players and the CN "buyers" it would be a juggernaut in the community. Not only supporting the hobby, but also areas in government, commercial and research.

FYI, if just 1000 of us kick in $20k this deal would be done swiftly.

Think about it...




Still pretty risky... Now if it were Patek Philliipe, I would invest 100K.


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Mike in Tampa
super member


Reged: 05/19/13

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930267 - 06/19/13 10:52 PM

wish I had 20k to kick in, but I guess you can say I had the Million $$$ idea, even if I was 1/2 joking. Anyway, if you guys get this thing rolling count me in for a $1k.

and I do like the thought of bringing manufacturing back to the US. it's about time for the sake of this country to begin doing this at every opportunity.

It'll be the Green Bay Packers of the Astronomical world, publicly owned by a community driven by their love of the "sport" and not greed.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: OleCuss]
      #5930270 - 06/19/13 10:53 PM

Quote:

I'm really enjoying the idea of a CN Meade take-over.

NOT going to happen. MITC is not going to bow out in favor of a CN bid. I'm betting JOC won't either.

If there were a serious CN bid to take over Meade, then there would be so much litigation it'd make my head hurt - and the delay in getting a resolution would likely doom Meade.

To me it is interesting to remember that Meade does not own the European Meade brand. Exactly how that came about might be a very interesting part of how MITC is involved and might have interesting implications for JOC and maybe for Meade's board depending on how the various contracts are structured.

The other thing that I find extremely interesting is that JOC seems to make a lot of the Meade scopes. So if MITC should buy Meade USA, would JOC still supply those scopes? For that matter, if MITC were to buy Meade, would there be contractual implications regarding JOC's ability to sell the scopes it makes in Europe?

I find all this fascinating and I'd not want to touch a deal like this unless I'd had a team of lawyers and accountants examining the structure, the contracts, and the markets for months and months. IMHO, it'd be foolhardy to launch another bid at this time.






I see no reason for a CN Meade take over not to happen. It will make news, that is for certain.

$6million or so will maybe give the ghost to the other bidders. Maybe the "CN Team" would do great business JOC. Maybe the CN Team joins up with one of the bidders?

Why do you think there would be litigation? Lawyers can be dealt with. Been there done, that. There is no value to anyone destroying Meade. Well, maybe a few jealous and/or ticked off folks, but the share holders would be wise to make money than lose everything.

So OleCuss - if we get enough in the pool you want to join the team?


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5930273 - 06/19/13 10:55 PM

Mike,

$1k, $20k...it all helps!

You get 5,000 folks putting in this range you have a powerful brain trust going. It would be the Green Bay Packers of the Astro world!


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Ed Holland
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5930275 - 06/19/13 10:57 PM

Very interesting. Could we do it? I might be tempted.

Ed


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5930279 - 06/19/13 10:59 PM

Whatever--but in my opinion, our hobby is best served having both Meade and Celestron functioning as strong, well run companies. I don't know the intentions of the two parties interested in the acquisition. I just hope that the stock holders sell with the intention of doing what is best to ensure Meade survives.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Ed Holland]
      #5930289 - 06/19/13 11:03 PM

Quote:

Very interesting. Could we do it? I might be tempted.

Ed






Ed,

I think several folks may indeed catch onto this idea. My gut tells me there would be 1000 folks willing to invest $1k - $20k or more by Saturday. Another 4000 folks at least $400 by then.

Heck, if I had time right now I would start to keep a tally of the names, though I am heading to Washington DC for a bit of business there. Like I said, I want to play with my LX850, a wonderful kit, but I have lot's o' travel and work.

Then again, I could ask my team to help tally the names.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: GeneT]
      #5930294 - 06/19/13 11:08 PM

Quote:

Whatever--but in my opinion, our hobby is best served having both Meade and Celestron functioning as strong, well run companies. I don't know the intentions of the two parties interested in the acquisition. I just hope that the stock holders sell with the intention of doing what is best to ensure Meade survives.




I 100% agree. A strong hobby - and community at all levels - is needed.

To be be blunt, I think there needs to be a meeting of the minds of ALL key players in a summit with all political agendas aside. This field needs the excitement of the glory days - and growth.


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cuivienor
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930329 - 06/19/13 11:25 PM

Count me in for $5k.

Kickstarter anyone?


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: cuivienor]
      #5930343 - 06/19/13 11:33 PM

Quote:

Count me in for $5k.

Kickstarter anyone?




I was thinking Kickstarter, but then I thought this would be better as a "home brew" within our community.

Unless Rich was thinking of migrating this to Kickstarter...


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Starman27Moderator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: cuivienor]
      #5930344 - 06/19/13 11:33 PM

This is the second thread on this topic by about a day and a duplicate thread. The original one is in the Meade forum.

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brucepech
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930353 - 06/19/13 11:39 PM

Two shares a $200 plus an additional $200 for operating capital is less than the cost of a new Nagler 31mm eyepiece (which I don't really need anyway). Another $400 to cover a share of the NOL if necessary. But I have to live on my pension and retirement savings so I'm tapped out at $1K.

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ColoHank
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930378 - 06/19/13 11:55 PM

Quote:



Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It'd probably be a safer bet to buy lottery tickets.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



No way, ColoHank. Lottery is very very VERY remote chance of success.






Exactly.


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Pedestal
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: brucepech]
      #5930380 - 06/19/13 11:57 PM

Humm.. I really don't think the idea of a direct CN takeover of Meade is practical. Even if the money could be raised, setting up the legal end would probably take too long. BUT.... Supposed Astronomics made a bid, backed with money from a fund owned by CN members...... I think the legal loops would be less daunting. A simple LLC with cash loaning Astronomics money for a share/stake in Meade.... There is probably a dozen or more reasons why this would not work, but.....

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Pedestal]
      #5930382 - 06/20/13 12:01 AM

Quote:

Humm.. I really don't think the idea of a direct CN takeover of Meade is practical. Even if the money could be raised, setting up the legal end would probably take too long. BUT.... Supposed Astronomics made a bid, backed with money from a fund owned by CN members...... I think the legal loops would be less daunting. A simple LLC with cash loaning Astronomics money for a share/stake in Meade.... There is probably a dozen or more reasons why this would not work, but.....




Setting up the legal end is very easy. Been there, done that.

Why would the legal loops be less daunting with Astronomics? If anything adding Astronomics might be bad - other dealers would disappear. If anything I would want to grow Meade separately and have Astronomics as a partner growing sales. Everyone wins.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5930388 - 06/20/13 12:08 AM

Quote:

Quote:



Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It'd probably be a safer bet to buy lottery tickets.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



No way, ColoHank. Lottery is very very VERY remote chance of success.






Exactly.




Are you inferring this would be a remote chance? Who knows. But you never know, if you don't try.

Being an entrepreneur is risky, but the rewards can be enormous.

I remember years ago on my first big project working out of the corner of the basement. I was too poor to work from the garage. I had a great idea, but I was told I was nuts. Never happen. Wasting money.

I got a little invoice, from NASA, for $24,000. The business then grew, and grew...in 2 years sales hit $5 million. It was interesting how those naysayers wanted to become buds AFTER I was successful.

To be successful, you have to believe. It also helps to be a little smart too though, and a dash of luck.

As has been said: "We are the music makers, and We are the dreamers of dreams."

Well back to the fun.


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OleCuss
member


Reged: 11/22/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930396 - 06/20/13 12:15 AM

Quote:

.
.
.
So OleCuss - if we get enough in the pool you want to join the team?




I appreciate the implicit offer, but at the current entry price - not even a chance.

I've got one daughter who just got engaged and will be marrying late August or early September. I've got another daughter who will almost certainly get her proposal within the next 1.5 weeks (although she doesn't know that yet).

Sort of ties up my discretionary funds for the near future, so even if someone could convince me that this was a winner of an idea - I'd be out.

So no one should consider my non-participation as meaning that I continue to be a skeptic despite the efforts.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5930402 - 06/20/13 12:20 AM

I didn't want to migrate to something like kickstarter. To be blunt, it's the disinterested investor who got this where it is.

I have, however, had a couple of other thoughts we might consider:

If not a Meade takeover (which may just get bogged down by legal actions from existing parties), the amount of cash we have talked about is enough to start a small manufacturing activity; one which would produce exactly what we want. So, this could be termed set up a CN prime.

Alternatively, it could be an effort more centered around buying IP and arranging for it to get used. This would be somewhat related to the above concept.

So, where I am going with this is success in taking over Meade is not necessarily the end-all in itself. With or without a success, there, possibilities are still available. Think about the level of skills across CN and I think you'll see what I mean.

-Rich


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: OleCuss]
      #5930412 - 06/20/13 12:24 AM

What litigation?

The highest bidder will get shareholder approval. Period. That's all the investors care about - maximizing their return on the buyout. There's nothing to litigate about if the shareholders approve an offer.

I think the CN bid is brilliant. The first crowd sourced takeover of a public company in history. But more likely a concerted CN effort to create an offer would drive the JOC and/or MITC bid up, making the greedy shareholder SOBs happy-happy.

The current litigation is shareholder derivative litigation targeting management for accepting the JOC bid, which was lower than the PE bid. Management took the bid that was less shaky and likely to keep at least some of them employed. The Shareholders, however, want their extra 20 cents. 95% of all takeovers do not result in shareholder litigation; typically shareholders approve. In fact, this litigation will be over quickly if a majority of shares approve the JOC takeover, leaving the bottom feeding contingency fee attorneys representing the plaintiff shareholders SOL.

Regards,

Jim


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EFT
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930430 - 06/20/13 12:36 AM

Count me in.

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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: EFT]
      #5930451 - 06/20/13 12:52 AM

Ed, thank you.

-Rich


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Geo31
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5930466 - 06/20/13 01:01 AM

I've been through bankruptcy and both sides of M&A.

Right now everyone is maneuvering for their best position. Count on nothing less. I was shocked by Meade's audit statement, but as an accountant, I can assure you that Meade management had some influence on that statement, even though that is not supposed to happen, especially with Sarbanes-Oxley.

Everybody is trying to work out a deal that suits them best. The fact that shareholders are upset may be a result of them being idiots or it could be they ARE getting shafted by management (wouldn't be the first time).

If Meade is viable in some form as a going concern upon acquisition, there will be financing available. It would be in too many people's best interest.

Clearly though, the company has serious issues. The sooner this is resolved, the better for everyone involved in one way or another.


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mistyridge
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Geo31]
      #5930545 - 06/20/13 02:38 AM

Count me in to.

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travelenfree1952
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930626 - 06/20/13 05:27 AM

Spacetravelerx....Count me in. I would like to see us get a groundswell of CN forum members and meet the challenge that is in front of us, together. Lots of strength in numbers and $$. You guys are why I love this forum. We come together with our shared passion for astronomy and its technology and solve problems for each other....Meade's problem affects us in a major way. Maybe, we can do something about it Travelenfree1952

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Qwickdraw
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5930668 - 06/20/13 06:41 AM

I could potentially invest an undetermined amount of cash ~25k. I say "potentially" because this would obviously depend of having full disclosure of all assets and liabilities of Meade. You don’t just say I want to but X company without knowing what their dept is as whoever purchases the company also purchases their dept.

Secondly, Does this get me priority status on having my 14" LX850 built?

Lastly, The first time we need capital and have to go outside our internal resources in today’s environment and considering Meade's tentative status no VC company is going to buy into it without a controlling interest. I guarantee you that today's Modus operandi for these companies is to gain control and when the time is right execute a "George Zimmer" on CN interest...'I guarantee it'
So my point is there would need to be not only enough cash to purchase but enough to keep out the bad guys.


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Starman27Moderator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5930728 - 06/20/13 07:50 AM

This is an interesting thread. Most companies last about 50 years. The brands out live the companies that created them.It is interesting to see what we would or could do if we invested in our own telescope company.

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mayidunk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starman27]
      #5930780 - 06/20/13 08:20 AM

It could keep Meade from either going under, or becoming just another "used to be" marque! I might be persuaded to kick a little cash into this...

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ken svp120
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5930834 - 06/20/13 08:56 AM

While it is a romantic idea to have us members take over Meade, speaking from a practical standpoint, I think its far too late to have started this fund raising campaign. If we had taken this issue seriously about 6 months ago, formed a legal entity and set up a fund at that time, we might be at the bargaining table now. But sadly, nobody wanted to accept reality as it was in fact taking place. Now for anything to happen we would need someone with the cash at the ready...I doubt that having a few of us here and there is going to get $5,000,000 or so together in time to do anything.

Now go out there and prove me wrong!


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5930863 - 06/20/13 09:14 AM

My guess is that beyond the initial offering, the fiduciaries at Meade will be looking at sustained support...deep pockets. Are you ready to commit to that? Just sayin'...

David


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5930989 - 06/20/13 10:13 AM

David, thanks for the reality check. I still think this discussion should continue, though:

I have started to wonder if starting something new might be the best idea, informed by what has gone well or didn't with Meade and other companies. Wrangling Meade may be a nigh impossible job at this point: Meade has the production activity started in Mexico which never got really dialed in to steady state production of anything. Then there's the state of the main office, supply chain management activity, existing product support, and dealer network support. To top it off, there is a large inventory of something. If it is a mother lode of eyepieces, that's great. If it's $1.5 mil of LX80s awaiting some resolution no one has started on, $2.5 mil of LX800s waiting to be rebuilt as LX850s, $1 mil in ETX scopes and the rest in Saturn by Meade department store stuff, then the inventory may be a net loss no matter how it is dealt with.

Now, let's look at the clean sheet company. Note, this would be the ultimate state we would be trying to get Meade to, anyway. What do we want from it?

For starters, are we even talking about a conventional commercial optics company? If I ended up taking customer calls from time to time, I can immediately say I don't want to be talking about a department store scope. I get the feeling we'd all like to be involved with the good stuff. At the same time, I suggest a small company need not be obsessed with growth to the point it overextends itself and goes broke.

Products I would be interested in:

SCTs- especially with an eye to extreme modularity. So, for example, any built in image correction would need to be removable so conventional accessories would work (unlike the Edge series) and it would be directly compatible with hyperstar.

Fork mounts- here I would like to make them modular in the mode of Questar mounts where one OTA can come off and another go in its place. The other part of this would be to not kid around with the drive- get a really good drive in one.

GEMs- if this was from scratch on our dime, I end up on the side of saying we are knee deep in GEMs at the moment. A line of good modular forks is the bigger hole to fill.

Custom shop- have part of the production activity tasked with making short runs. We'll be fair with the price with the right to make our own evaluation copy and an option to license or buy the design to become part of our catalog.

Let me know what you think,

-Rich


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charles genovese
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5931019 - 06/20/13 10:31 AM

Hmmm- I bet Meade is one of the biggest advertisers for S&T and Astronomy - will mean a huge loss of income.

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Paul Schroeder
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5931028 - 06/20/13 10:35 AM

If the buyer wants to turn this around (vs. sell it off to someone) how much capital is really needed?

It wouldn't be too surprising for the lucky new owners to need a few million on top of the purchase price to invest in R&D, restructure, and absorb ongoing operating losses. It would seem unlikely that new management could get this to cash flow positive immediately, even through shedding the underperforming parts.

In the short term (a year or two) trying to finance this business through debt seems problematic and expensive (in terms of any lender's equity participation).

With the current offer on the table of ~$4.8 million, to me at least any buyer who wants to turn this around would want to have at least $7 to $8 million in capital readily available.

Also, FWIW here's a link to the MIT Capital press release:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mit-capital-inc-proposes-acquire-165400973.html

Paul

Edited by Paul Schroeder (06/20/13 10:38 AM)


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Kevdog
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Paul Schroeder]
      #5931090 - 06/20/13 11:10 AM

How about shareholders in the new takeover "have to" alpha and beta test new products before they go out on the market. Prevent the LX80 and LX800 problems before they are problems!

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Patrick
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5931220 - 06/20/13 12:47 PM

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Kevdog]
      #5931222 - 06/20/13 12:48 PM

That's exactly the sort of investor involvement I would expect to help. If you feel beholden over getting a sweet deal on gear, you report one thing. If you are looking at whether you keep the shirt on your back depending on how good it is, I expect you report another.

But if you know next to nothing about telescopes but thought it sounded cool to own stock in an optics company, then you will call the products good based on the amount of shiny parts and the length of a features list with no understanding of the actual quality of the product.

-Rich


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Patrick]
      #5931251 - 06/20/13 01:03 PM

Patrick,

It's comments like these which make you the most difficult person to argue with on CN.

I must concede the truth of what you, and others have been pointing out.

However, what I think is really driving this discussion is a gut feeling in many of us it isn't really healthy to have a globe-straddling one mega company and a bunch of comparitively tiny micro companies.

And even as I write that, I am forced to see nothing any of us has said would directly result in more than the appearance of another small OEM. And perhaps if Meade had recognized that was where they were, early, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

So, I will ask this of everyone who has added to this thread: Are you interested if all we could do is get a second SCT source and modular fork maker together? It will not be as big as Meade was in 1997, and it won't have the broad range of products; we're talking about a small shop which with or without an M on the front of the building is much smaller and specialized. Having the M means Coronado is part of it, but that was a single building shop in an industrial park back when it was a mile from my house.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick




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EFT
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Patrick]
      #5931299 - 06/20/13 01:24 PM

Quote:

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick




I think that the STCs are the prime example of the difference this could make at this point. Competition is one of the things that drives innovation. The recent changes to SCTs by both companies are a result of both market place desire and competition between the two companies. It was a very long time before now since there was any real advancement in the SCT. There are obviously other things that drive innovation (such as the desire to sell new products) but if you remove competition from the marketplace, then the need for innovation is lessened. This may be good or it may be bad as we have seen that the rush to "innovate" and push things to market can be a bad thing. But without competition, innovation may slow or stop and be controlled more by the calculation of when the market is saturated with the current product before a new design is made.

Competition also tends to drive down prices, particularly in consumer-level goods made by companies like these.

Someone earlier suggested that a Meade/Celestron merger a while back would have been great. But you have to ask yourself if we would have things like the EdgeHD or the f/8 ACF now if that had happened. Maybe we would, but it would more likely be one or the other or it could still be off in the future yet since there are plenty of people happy to continue buying standard SCTs at this point.


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Aquatone
sage


Reged: 03/23/06

Loc: California Bay Area
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5931302 - 06/20/13 01:25 PM

Quote:

So, I will ask this of everyone who has added to this thread: Are you interested if all we could do is get a second SCT source and modular fork maker together? It will not be as big as Meade was in 1997, and it won't have the broad range of products; we're talking about a small shop which with or without an M on the front of the building is much smaller and specialized. Having the M means Coronado is part of it, but that was a single building shop in an industrial park back when it was a mile from my house.




Not interested in the slightest. The market has moved on. I would have zero confidence in investing in such a company.

Chris


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Gil V
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/09/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Aquatone]
      #5931409 - 06/20/13 02:30 PM

I'd rather just design a telescope line from scratch and invest in the equipment to build them. Much more fun that way.

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MikeBOKC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5931433 - 06/20/13 02:41 PM

If Meade goes kersplat Jighua and ES could still acquire and continue development of their SCT patents and lines of scopes. That would continue a two-mega-company scenario, hopefully under better management.

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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: t.r.]
      #5931442 - 06/20/13 02:44 PM

A monopoly and high telescope prices?

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Alph
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: EFT]
      #5931450 - 06/20/13 02:49 PM

Quote:

Someone earlier suggested that a Meade/Celestron merger a while back would have been great. But you have to ask yourself if we would have things like the EdgeHD or the f/8 ACF now if that had happened. Maybe we would, but it would more likely be one or the other or it could still be off in the future yet since there are plenty of people happy to continue buying standard SCTs at this point.



FYI. The f/8 ACF aka RCX was already available in 2006


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Eigen]
      #5931455 - 06/20/13 02:51 PM

Except that Patek Phillipe is an extremely high-end, high-quality Swiss watch maker and Meade does not have that kind of quality. It is also deeply in debt. I read in the article about the counter offer that they are currently $100,000 overdrawn on their last line of credit.

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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: belgrade]
      #5931459 - 06/20/13 02:53 PM

Meade makes Cats.

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KerryR
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Gil V]
      #5931461 - 06/20/13 02:55 PM

Quote:

I'd rather just design a telescope line from scratch and invest in the equipment to build them. Much more fun that way.




I'd expect significant difficulty reaching a market that'd be willing to pay what you'd need to charge to make a profit. I don't think designing (and avoiding patent conflicts) and tooling up to make a superior SCT, or even a mediocre one for that matter, is any small task.


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: KerryR]
      #5931467 - 06/20/13 03:02 PM

I'm just glad I don't have a Meade on order or needing repair.

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Starman1
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: KerryR]
      #5931501 - 06/20/13 03:20 PM

It seems to me that
IF Meade hadn't wasted capital acquiring businesses in areas that weren't strengths for them (like rifle scopes), and
IF Meade had been able to bring its new designs to market without defects and recalls and in significant numbers without a long back-log waiting period, and
IF Meade hadn't over-proliferated their offerings to the point where they lost any economies of scale, and
IF Meade had been able to quickly replace the ETX line with more modern offerings (both before and after JOC), and
IF they had been able to successfully compete with Synta in the mass-market "Christmas scope" arena, and
IF they had produced the scopes and mounts that people really wanted several years earlier (they ignored the popularity of astrophotography for years, to their detriment), and
IF they hadn't stopped importing many of their most popular accessories (like cameras), and
IF they hadn't lost many of their best people as losses piled up,
THEN we wouldn't be having this conversation.

But, Meade did have the problems outlined (and more).

Is it possible to save the company now?
What should they make?
Would having defect-free products save them?
Would having products to sell save them?
Would branching out to other product areas save them?

I'm sorry to see their problems, which, as we all know, are partially, at least, the fault of the US and European recessions, but the problems were a long time in coming. Astute market analysis and product selection might have increased profitability sooner and left them in an OK, but smaller, market position.

Now? I honestly don't know.


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mistyridge
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5931518 - 06/20/13 03:31 PM

I wonder if the market place is reaching a sturation point and my not support the two large astro gear companies? Are we adding enough newbies to the hobby?. How many scopes and mounts can one person need? Just how big is the market? How long does a SCT and mount last before a user needs to replaces it? These are the kinds of questions I would ask before investing in such a venture.

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Jared
Postmaster
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starman1]
      #5931525 - 06/20/13 03:36 PM

Frankly, based on where their cash stood at the end of February and the statement that they are currently $100K overdrawn on their line of credit with the holiday manufacturing season quickly approaching (need to get product in the distribution channel by October at the latest), its already too late for any of this. I'm not even certain the sale to JOC will be soon enough to keep them running. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bankruptcy notice before any of this gets settled. Hope I'm wrong.

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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starman1]
      #5931529 - 06/20/13 03:39 PM

Quote:

It seems to me that
IF Meade hadn't wasted capital acquiring businesses in areas that weren't strengths for them (like rifle scopes), and
IF Meade had been able to bring its new designs to market without defects and recalls and in significant numbers without a long back-log waiting period, and
IF Meade hadn't over-proliferated their offerings to the point where they lost any economies of scale, and
IF Meade had been able to quickly replace the ETX line with more modern offerings (both before and after JOC), and
IF they had been able to successfully compete with Synta in the mass-market "Christmas scope" arena, and
IF they had produced the scopes and mounts that people really wanted several years earlier (they ignored the popularity of astrophotography for years, to their detriment), and
IF they hadn't stopped importing many of their most popular accessories (like cameras), and
IF they hadn't lost many of their best people as losses piled up,
THEN we wouldn't be having this conversation.

But, Meade did have the problems outlined (and more).





Meade did attempt to modernize the ETX with LS series, but the company was losing steam at that point, there were problems with the rollout, and they didn't promote it like they did the ETX. The loss of the mall "science stores" like Discovery Channel Store and Nature's Wonders didn't help either.

What has hurt them more than anything else? Successive scope introductions that had severe problems.

Christmas scopes never did much for either company. There is _no_ profit there. Especially when you are selling to Walmart.

I wish they had kept their cameras and built on them...I believe they had something with the DSIs...but an argument could also be made that the had way too many products.

My guess now? I hope I am wrong, but I believe they are done and going to the knackers.


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freestar8n
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: EFT]
      #5931534 - 06/20/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

But you have to ask yourself if we would have things like the EdgeHD or the f/8 ACF now if that had happened.




In the 1988 book, Telescope Optics, the concept of a coma-free sct is discussed: "How, then, does the designer confront the problem of eliminating coma while preserving good axial image sharpness? ... The most common solution is aspherizing the secondary."

So it is surprising to me to find competition in the early 2000's led to something that was "common" before 1988. But there does appear to be a patent related to the ACF involving specifically a hyperbolic secondary in combination with a primary that could be spherical. It even covers a Maksutov version I think. But I'm not sure what value the patent would have since a simpler approach already exists that doesn't require a hyperboloid - and there were prior journal articles involving sct's with a wide variety of conic combinations (Sigler).

The main role patents have played in the sct world is not to drive innovation that benefits the user - but monopolistic ownership of obvious engineering choices that hurt the consumer by not being generally available, or at added cost to companies not holding the patent.

The drive for flat field imaging is motivated by larger detectors and higher imaging standards by users, rather than a tit-for-tat war of advances. A 20" RC used to be great for ccd imaging as-is - but then the detectors got bigger and the aberrations showed more.

So I'm not sure I agree that patents and lawsuits have helped amateur astronomy much, or that competition has driven innovation that we wouldn't otherwise have. Telescope makers of all types are moving toward flat field designs because that's what consumers now need for their larger chips.

I don't know what the future holds, but I hope there is a much greater proportion of funds spent on engineers rather than lawyers. No offense to those in the legal profession.

Frank


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Patrick]
      #5931535 - 06/20/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick





Meade does in fact bring innovation and competition. What have they brought to the party lately?

How about the LX600 and LX850. I don't want to get in a *BLEEP* match comparing products, but I certainly chose to spend my $10k on the LX850 over the Celestron. For me it was no comparison.

And because of that Celestron has competition - something better and a better value is out there. Celestron is forced to respond.

How about the APOs? Pretty good refractors in my book.

LX200 is still a great platform.

Having just one vendor, will hurt the community in the end. No competition. No reason to push the envelop.

FYI - wasn't this same comment made about Celestron when they went through Bankruptcy?


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Jared
Postmaster
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mistyridge]
      #5931536 - 06/20/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

I wonder if the market place is reaching a sturation point and my not support the two large astro gear companies? Are we adding enough newbies to the hobby?. How many scopes and mounts can one person need? Just how big is the market? How long does a SCT and mount last before a user needs to replaces it? These are the kinds of questions I would ask before investing in such a venture.




It's not a very large market, and I'm convinced it is getting a little bit smaller every year in terms of numbers of people involved. But as disposable income continues to increase world wide, I suspect that the total $'s spent on the hobby are as large as ever (even adjusted for inflation). Don't forget new areas of the hobby that didn't exist ten or fifteen years ago such as solar scopes and astrophotography. I suspect that the dedicated amateur in prior decades would have owned just one or perhaps two telescopes. Now, four or five are not unusual. Total number of people worldwide? Probably shrinking (based purely on anecdotal evidence). Total market? Probably larger in terms of overall spend. I'm sure that the worldwide demand would support a Meade sized business if the products provided good value and consistent quality.


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mistyridge]
      #5931540 - 06/20/13 03:43 PM

Quote:

I wonder if the market place is reaching a sturation point and my not support the two large astro gear companies?




I disagree. There are certainly more amateurs than there were, say, 30 years ago, and we supported two companies then selling telescopes that were on average considerably more expensive than they are now.

People say there are fewer amateurs, no young people are coming into the avocation, yadda-yadda-yadda. But I've been hearing that at least since the 70s, and it is as wrong now as it was then. Certainly we can always use new amateurs, and particularly young ones, but they still come, and we are more of a force, for sure, than we were back in '65, for Pete's sake.



Edited by rmollise (06/20/13 03:47 PM)


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caheaton
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5931559 - 06/20/13 03:54 PM

Not to mention that I'm sure there is growth to be had in India and China, plus other markets as the middle class grows in those economies.

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orion61

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5931566 - 06/20/13 03:57 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It seems to me that
IF Meade hadn't wasted capital acquiring businesses in areas that weren't strengths for them (like rifle scopes), and
IF Meade had been able to bring its new designs to market without defects and recalls and in significant numbers without a long back-log waiting period, and
IF Meade hadn't over-proliferated their offerings to the point where they lost any economies of scale, and
IF Meade had been able to quickly replace the ETX line with more modern offerings (both before and after JOC), and
IF they had been able to successfully compete with Synta in the mass-market "Christmas scope" arena, and
IF they had produced the scopes and mounts that people really wanted several years earlier (they ignored the popularity of astrophotography for years, to their detriment), and
IF they hadn't stopped importing many of their most popular accessories (like cameras), and
IF they hadn't lost many of their best people as losses piled up,
THEN we wouldn't be having this conversation.

But, Meade did have the problems outlined (and more).





Meade did attempt to modernize the ETX with LS series, but the company was losing steam at that point, there were problems with the rollout, and they didn't promote it like they did the ETX. The loss of the mall "science stores" like Discovery Channel Store and Nature's Wonders didn't help either.

What has hurt them more than anything else? Successive scope introductions that had severe problems.

Christmas scopes never did much for either company. There is _no_ profit there. Especially when you are selling to Walmart.

I wish they had kept their cameras and built on them...I believe they had something with the DSIs...but an argument could also be made that the had way too many products.

My guess now? I hope I am wrong, but I believe they are done and going to the knackers.



I strongly disagree with you.
I personally have seen imput from Meade following the Forums.. and Have had PM's from them here is an example,
"Hi Larry,

Variation in success with lubes might be related to the gap between baffle tube and mirror which does vary. When we complete our merger with Meade, I can have our guys use feeler gauges to compare and test various lubes. My experience has been with larger gaps, but I could easily see that a thinner gap would benefit from a less viscous material. With larger gaps materials with a higher viscosity index would be advantageous. A study of this would help eliminate a major drawback for moving mirror systems such as the SCT and Mak.

Thanks for your feedback,

Russ


This tells me Meade is taking another step forward in listening to us!
Is there anybody else here that has had a rep from a major
Mfgr take the time to answer?
This is EXACTLY what Meade needs to do, Get back in touch with its customer base. Take note of what the real issues are and what we need.
My hope is Meade makes a full recovery, I wont be part of a Death Drone for them even tho this is a mainly Celestron site.
I have had the chance to look through a new 600 10" Meade
The optics were FIRST RATE! If i were to buy a new scope right now it would be the 600 Meade. They have had past issues but Having someone listening and watching "REAL TIME" tells me there is a new generation of Meade Executives
learning from past mistakes and learning from them!
Rod I like, and respect you, but I have a C note betting on Meade...


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ColoHank
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: EFT]
      #5931573 - 06/20/13 04:00 PM

Quote:

Competition also tends to drive down prices, particularly in consumer-level goods made by companies like these.





Therein lies the problem. Telescope manufacturers operate in a small niche market, and margins are low. Customers are few in number and inclined to demand innovation and quality, but often are unwilling or unable to pay premium prices. R&D and quality assurance are expensive, and there are few economies of scale. As profits decline, companies are faced with a dismal choice: either sacrifice quality and risk alienating customers, or go out of business. Meade is doing both.


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George Methvin
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: caheaton]
      #5931577 - 06/20/13 04:04 PM

One of the things I have learned in life is that when one door shuts another one opens. Stop all this Doom and gloom, Meade has had a good run and I have been proud to own some of there fine astro stuff and if they should go under then some other company with fresh ideal will step up and carry on. Have a little fate it will all work out. Clear skys, now where's my bottle of Jack Daniels

Meade 10 LX200 SCT
Many fine Meade eyepeices.

Edited by George Methvin (06/20/13 04:07 PM)


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Qwickdraw
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5931591 - 06/20/13 04:13 PM

Quote:

I'm just glad I don't have a Meade on order or needing repair.




I do but Astronomics didn't require any money down to place the order on a LX850. I am not sure how it typically works with them and a Meade order but I was told I am under no obligation and can cancel at any time. I can pay when the scope is ready to ship or cancel if desired.


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orion61

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5931609 - 06/20/13 04:26 PM

I just got off the phone with Russ (ES) they are very very pumped with this merger. They have huge things planned for the future of Meade.
I would take the opportunity of ordering one of the new
6-8 series of scopes.
Guys I honestly walked away from my experience with the
new 10" LX600 Meade with the impression of " this is the best scope I have ever Touched" in my head. I own a custom Celestron C8 made for former Celestron VP of Sales Leo Henzl
and the optics certainly were on par. This merge is going to influx the cash needed to promote these new Dynamos!
Lets squash this ugly thread!!
Larry


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5931612 - 06/20/13 04:30 PM

They were the first with a coma free SCT not to mention the Light Switch. Wish they had offered the latter in a bigger scope. David

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amicus sidera
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5931620 - 06/20/13 04:34 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I wonder if the market place is reaching a sturation point and my not support the two large astro gear companies?




I disagree. There are certainly more amateurs than there were, say, 30 years ago, and we supported two companies then selling telescopes that were on average considerably more expensive than they are now.

People say there are fewer amateurs, no young people are coming into the avocation, yadda-yadda-yadda. But I've been hearing that at least since the 70s, and it is as wrong now as it was then. Certainly we can always use new amateurs, and particularly young ones, but they still come, and we are more of a force, for sure, than we were back in '65, for Pete's sake.






+1.... amateur astronomy is doing just fine, thank you.

The hand-wringers should take a look here... might be antidotal.


As for Meade, it's fortunes certainly seem up in the air at the moment; personally, I think having but one manufacturer in the SCT market would prove disastrous, in the long run.

Fred


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: orion61]
      #5931632 - 06/20/13 04:41 PM

Quote:

I just got off the phone with Russ (ES) they are very very pumped with this merger. They have huge things planned for the future of Meade.
I would take the opportunity of ordering one of the new
6-8 series of scopes.
Guys I honestly walked away from my experience with the
new 10" LX600 Meade with the impression of " this is the best scope I have ever Touched" in my head. I own a custom Celestron C8 made for former Celestron VP of Sales Leo Henzl
and the optics certainly were on par. This merge is going to influx the cash needed to promote these new Dynamos!
Lets squash this ugly thread!!
Larry




Larry,

I agree. I am too am very pumped with this merger. Well, I am very pumped on Meade!

Everyone holding back their purchases and being down does not really help things. Meade does indeed have some great products.

Personally, when I am back from my travels I will be purchasing a Meade APO and a couple of UWA eyepieces. September? A Coronado Solar Max II (90mm). For Christmas? The 10" LX600. (I already have the LX850, heh heh heh).

I am very pleased with Meade and the folks I have communicated with there. Everyone sitting on the fence not purchasing anything really hurts the company.


BTW - For over a 23 year stretch I have only purchased two telescopes from Meade. The LX200 and then the ETX125. Both work perfectly fine still. This is was good and bad. Good in that they work so well for so long; Bad because I did not buy much from Meade during this time. I do prefer their high quality products though.


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dscarpa
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5931650 - 06/20/13 04:53 PM

A stand alone mount along the lines of a driven Unistar with LS tech could be a game changer for Meade. David

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freestar8n
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5931672 - 06/20/13 05:07 PM

Quote:

They were the first with a coma free SCT not to mention the Light Switch. Wish they had offered the latter in a bigger scope.




Again - I cited a 1988 text in which an aspheric secondary was a "common" way to eliminate coma in an SCT. And removing coma while leaving astigmatism and field curvature is an odd choice; other telescope makers are jumping right to a fully corrected and flat field, including RC makers.

As for Light Switch - to do it with slower microcontrollers it needed to have a sense of level and a rough idea of north. Since they own a patent on telescopes that align themselves based on level/north - other companies could not incorporate such an innovations in their offerings even if they wanted to.

So it is a case of one company limiting what other companies can do, rather than being more inherently innovative - and there is no benefit to the consumer in that situation. Instead it has more the downsides of a monopoly that this thread is concerned about.

But such patents have a finite lifetime of value since faster microcontrollers remove the need to add tiltmeters and magnetic compasses in the first place, so that alignment can be done with better software and no need for level/north measurements. Again - such innovations are driven more by changing times and technology than "healthy" competition.

Frank


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: orion61]
      #5931680 - 06/20/13 05:11 PM

I should add (I was getting excited) you need not purchase the mother load nor purchase the entire catalog of Meade products.

However, everyone sitting on the fence does not help either.

Buy a piggy back mount. An eyepiece. A filter. The entry level Meade telescope you always wanted.

No need to stop you purchase with the merger happening.


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cn register 5
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: freestar8n]
      #5931705 - 06/20/13 05:25 PM

It's my opinion that the North and Level patent forced Celestron into developing their AllStar alignment method so that patent could be said to have fostered innovation. And I think that AllStar - which was essentially a plate solve technique - lead to the align method in the SkyProdigy mounts, something that's got a lot of potential for pointing automation.

So maybe Meade, by preventing the obvious things being used, will prove to have been of long term benefit to the amateur astronomy community.

Chris


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nicklane1
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5931742 - 06/20/13 05:43 PM

Quote:

Except that Patek Phillipe is an extremely high-end, high-quality Swiss watch maker and Meade does not have that kind of quality. It is also deeply in debt. I read in the article about the counter offer that they are currently $100,000 overdrawn on their last line of credit.




really?
BTW, which model do you have/like?


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orion61

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5931744 - 06/20/13 05:44 PM

Remember, without the compitition of Meade, Celestron would turn to you know what, every price would go up, and quality would go down!
Beside, it is kind of nice still being able to use STD wrenches and not metric..No offence intended.


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OzAndrewJ
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5931756 - 06/20/13 05:50 PM

Gday Rod

Quote:

Meade did attempt to modernize the ETX with LS series,




Modernise or revolutionise???

For me, the 3 biggest problems with that scope were/are
a) The total inability to do anything manually anymore
( both mechanically or electronically )
b) The introduction of new fancy firmware and software
that isnt/cant be supported at even the most basic level
ie how do you even write a tour???
I managed to figure out how to do it, but by geez its painfull.
c) Using non std means as the "safeload" recovery mechanism.
Its got a USB port, so WHY THE ??? use odd sized sd cards that arent
and never were an industry std as your fallback position????

A lot of people ( me included ) love the ETX because it is flexible
and when set up properly, just works, and can be tweaked "if you want".
I would have loved it more if they had put a retrofittable
gearhead motor with belt drive into em to fix the gearbox problems,
and designed a better RA clutch .

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: orion61]
      #5931787 - 06/20/13 06:09 PM

Quote:


Rod I like, and respect you, but I have a C note betting on Meade...




Well, sorry about that...

And remember... the Meade of today really has no relationship to the Meade I know you loved.

I don't want to, but I have to stand by my prediction.

Night is falling for Meade and for once that is not a good thing.


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5931791 - 06/20/13 06:11 PM

Quote:


A lot of people ( me included ) love the ETX because it is flexible
and when set up properly, just works, and can be tweaked "if you want".
I would have loved it more if they had put a retrofittable
gearhead motor with belt drive into em to fix the gearbox problems,
and designed a better RA clutch .

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia




I know you'd love an ETX of that sort, and maybe I would, too. Not going to happen. Even if Meade survives and thrives, the ETX that emerges if one does will be the LS or something like it.


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cn register 5
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: orion61]
      #5931801 - 06/20/13 06:18 PM

Quote:

Remember, without the compitition of Meade, Celestron would turn to S**T, every price would go up, and quality would go down!
Beside, it is kind of nice still being able to use STD wrenches and not metric..No offence intended.



Typical CN vendor bashing.

Why do you have to turn EVERY SINGLE THREAD into a vendor bashing thread?
Everybody else has been having a sensible discussion, conducted with good will. Why do you want to ruin this?

Are you trying to manipulate the moderators into locking this thread?

Saying "no offence intended" makes no difference when you are obviously trying to be offensive.

Chris


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: George Methvin]
      #5931808 - 06/20/13 06:22 PM

Quote:

One of the things I have learned in life is that when one door shuts another one opens. Stop all this Doom and gloom, Meade has had a good run and I have been proud to own some of there fine astro stuff and if they should go under then some other company with fresh ideal will step up and carry on. Have a little fate it will all work out. Clear skys, now where's my bottle of Jack Daniels

Meade 10 LX200 SCT
Many fine Meade eyepeices.




Well said. If Meade and Celestron both shut down tomorrow, I'd be kinda sad, but there are alternatives and will be alternatives. It's better to look at telescopes--for me anyway--as tools, not objects of affection...though that isn't always easy for me, either. The Celestron Tom Johnson started because he was interested in showing his girls the sky with a telescope and the Meade John Diebel started on his kitchen table are long, long gone no matter what happens. A toast to 'em with the Rebel Yell on this end.


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groz
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: orion61]
      #5931849 - 06/20/13 06:44 PM

Quote:


Is there anybody else here that has had a rep from a major
Mfgr take the time to answer?





I've sent queries off to all of the manufacturers of astro gear we own.

Starlight Xpress - Asked for technical info on our cameras. Answers came within an hour. I got all the technical information I wanted. End result, I wrote open source drivers for the cameras, available for free download on sourceforge.

Skywatcher - Bumped into the folks at a local star party. It was the folks doing testing on a goto dob, about a year before it became a product. Nice folks, I still keep in touch, do lunch with them occasionally. The night on the star party field, they took the time to help troubleshoot a problem we were having with one of our mounts, and fixed it on the spot.

Takahashi - When I first got the NJP, had a problem with it. Emails asking for some technical details, had answers in my inbox the next day.

Orion - When I sent emails asking for some details on stuff we bought from them, had answers back the next day. Not necessarily the answer I was looking for, but at least I got a response.

Meade - I asked for technical info on the DSI-Pro so I could write linux drivers for it, same as I did for the SX gear. I sent numerous emails, never once got a response.

That pretty much sums it up for me, of all the astro gear we have, Meade is the ONLY one that never once responded to any requests from us.


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mistyridge
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5931850 - 06/20/13 06:44 PM



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OzAndrewJ
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5931860 - 06/20/13 06:49 PM

Gday Rod

Quote:

Even if Meade survives and thrives, the ETX that emerges if one does will be the LS or something like it.




I think yr right,
but why not make the LS functionality an "addon" in the code, like it is with the LX600/850, and give me a good set of mechanical drives with basic controls like the older ETX. I can choose what to use "when i want" and the scope isnt a boat anchor if one bit fails.
The Audiostar handboxes have more than enough free space to make this a simple addition, and a modular/removable LS unit would also allow me to fit the scope into a smaller box

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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WesC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: orion61]
      #5931866 - 06/20/13 06:53 PM

Quote:

Remember, without the compitition of Meade, Celestron would turn to S**T, every price would go up, and quality would go down!
Beside, it is kind of nice still being able to use STD wrenches and not metric..No offence intended.





Wow, what a crock.


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: nicklane1]
      #5931948 - 06/20/13 08:04 PM

I'm a pilot so I opted for a Breitling Colt Chrono II.

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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5931957 - 06/20/13 08:09 PM

Since this is a thread is about Meade possibly failing, it is natural for folks to offer up their opinions as to why. It's definitely not vendor bashing. If you think so just don't click on the thread.

Geeze.


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5931964 - 06/20/13 08:12 PM

I don't fly on airlines in or near bankruptcy because they cut corners on safety, etc. and I don't buy things from companies that may go under. You know that you can lose your money that way, right?

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nicklane1
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5931981 - 06/20/13 08:25 PM

Quote:

I'm a pilot so I opted for a Breitling Colt Chrono II.




Nice piece.
Went into my fav watch store, Wempe, in NYC with the Patek 5054 on my mind and came out with a Yacht Master and a Cartier Francaise... Just because I thought those 2 provided better functionality and fit for my low keyed lifestyle. Major regret after several years. For me, it's like buying a C11 Edge and TV-76 instead of an AP 130GT.


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Geo31
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5932059 - 06/20/13 09:05 PM

Quote:

Quote:

One of the things I have learned in life is that when one door shuts another one opens. Stop all this Doom and gloom, Meade has had a good run and I have been proud to own some of there fine astro stuff and if they should go under then some other company with fresh ideal will step up and carry on. Have a little fate it will all work out. Clear skys, now where's my bottle of Jack Daniels

Meade 10 LX200 SCT
Many fine Meade eyepeices.




Well said. If Meade and Celestron both shut down tomorrow, I'd be kinda sad, but there are alternatives and will be alternatives. It's better to look at telescopes--for me anyway--as tools, not objects of affection...though that isn't always easy for me, either. The Celestron Tom Johnson started because he was interested in showing his girls the sky with a telescope and the Meade John Diebel started on his kitchen table are long, long gone no matter what happens. A toast to 'em with the Rebel Yell on this end.




Boy howdy.

Personally I think Meade will survive if the first deal can go through. They would merge with an already successful company in the astro market. The second is a bunch of investors looking for a return. That is hardly a bad thing, but I think in this case they will not know how to pull it off. Not that my opinion counts for anything here.

If Meade dies off, it will open the door for someone else to compete with Celestron and still make a profit.


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orion61

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5932148 - 06/20/13 10:04 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Remember, without the compitition of Meade, Celestron would turn to S**T, every price would go up, and quality would go down!
Beside, it is kind of nice still being able to use STD wrenches and not metric..No offence intended.



Typical CN vendor bashing.

Why do you have to turn EVERY SINGLE THREAD into a vendor bashing thread?
Everybody else has been having a sensible discussion, conducted with good will. Why do you want to ruin this?

Are you trying to manipulate the moderators into locking this thread?

Saying "no offence intended" makes no difference when you are obviously trying to be offensive.

Chris



How in the world is that vendor bashing?
any time you remove competition, the first thing that happens is prices go up, selection and quality go down.
It seems unfortunate you have been the one turning this personal.
I love Celestron and own their equipment, including my C8, 127 SLT Mak and eyepieces.
I'm sorry if I hit a nerve with you. I meant and mean to bash nobody, if anything I was complimenting Meade for their personal replys.
I also happen to own more Standard tools than Metric.


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frolinmod
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Geo31]
      #5932153 - 06/20/13 10:07 PM

If the original deal with JOC goes through, I suspect Meade will be better off and more responsive than it has been in decades.

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Paul G
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5932213 - 06/20/13 10:32 PM

Quote:

I'm a pilot so I opted for a Breitling Colt Chrono II.




Breitling Aerospace here.


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Geo31
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jared]
      #5932307 - 06/20/13 11:46 PM

Quote:

Don't forget new areas of the hobby that didn't exist ten or fifteen years ago such as solar scopes and astrophotography.





No. Seriously?

I wonder what those Celestron-Williams cold cameras were?


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Geo31]
      #5932372 - 06/21/13 12:39 AM

Yeah, that's pretty funny when you say it out loud.

-Rich


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freestar8n
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5932494 - 06/21/13 03:18 AM

I'll try to keep this on topic but I think there are a few things worth mentioning here.

Although there may be as many or more amateurs involved in astronomy now as before, the proportion involved in ATM work and doing things themselves has plummeted and there is much more of an attitude of just buying things without knowing how they work - like a shiny new iPhone.

Scientific American used to have a regular section on mirror grinding - and now even Sky and Telescope dropped Gleanings for ATM's because of a lack of interest and fear of scaring readers off.

Yes, amateur astronomical imaging is as old as the hills but I assume it really gathered steam in the 60's with the space race and satellites. Both Questar and Celestron featured imaging heavily. A key goal was faster film and faster optics, which led to the Celestron Schmidt camera - dedicated to imaging with a curved film holder and no eyepiece.

A good retrospective, and a 1978 catalog with decently guided images, can be found here. Many of the images are pretty good - and that's without photoshop or even multiple subexposures. The Schmidt system with curved film holder would have provided a fully corrected and flat field - in the 70's.

One person I think pioneered amateur astro imaging and doesn't seem to be known for it is Jack Newton, who is now part of the Meade community. His biography is here and it just makes passing mention of his early work, but it includes a small pamphlet called, "Astrophotography: from Film to Infinity" published in 1974.

To keep it on topic - amateur imaging and telescope nuts with multiple OTA's have been around forever, but I think nowadays they tend to just buy things based on marketing and have less interest in learning the optics and history behind all this new technology. Not all - but a greater proportion are that way. And that affects what products are offered and puts more emphasis on marketing than innovation.

Frank


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frolinmod
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5932500 - 06/21/13 03:35 AM

Good catch George. Over a hundred years of astrophotography and astrophotographers dismissed in a single post as if they never existed. All those men and women who sat outside in the dead of winter patiently manually guiding with illuminated reticle eyepiece, nudging their mounts every few minutes for eight or more hours straight. Those people apparently all struggled in vain.

Just kidding!


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Geo31]
      #5932525 - 06/21/13 05:40 AM

Quote:


Personally I think Meade will survive if the first deal can go through. They would merge with an already successful company in the astro market.




That is my thinking. Scott Roberts who, with his team at Explore Science, seems to understand the market and just as important, he knows Meade. It seems like a perfect fit if Meade is going to survive... Some who got out, started a thriving company...

But as George said, even if Meade goes under it's not all doom and gloom. The market will adjust, new companies will form.

Historically, from what I see, Meade has been more of a follower than an innovator, hopped on the SCT bandwagon, imported stuff from Japan, copied TV eyepieces... they have made some very good stuff but they have also made a lot of overpriced junk... entry level scopes that cost $300-$400 with a lot of plastic, a little electronics and questionable optics... And those are the good ones..

They have been trading on their reputation for a long time... They need someone at the helm with a commitment to value and acceptable quality. I am not talking their better stuff, I am talking entry level, the first scopes people will see. A decent first scope can be the difference between staying in this hobby or leaving.. that's big. A failed high end introduction, it will frustrate and disappoint committed astronomers, not good, but that won't drive them away from amateur astronomy.

Jon


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: freestar8n]
      #5932603 - 06/21/13 07:54 AM

Quote:

I'll try to keep this on topic but I think there are a few things worth mentioning here.

Although there may be as many or more amateurs involved in astronomy now as before, the proportion involved in ATM work and doing things themselves has plummeted and there is much more of an attitude of just buying things without knowing how they work - like a shiny new iPhone.






My observation? ATMing was a widespread activity back in the day. There was a reason for that. I didn't grind and polish my own mirrors because I had a burning desire to build a telescope--it was the only way I could hope to have a 6-inch telescope.

You don't have to grind a mirror or build a telescope to know how one works...a telescope is a very simple thing, after all. Most novice amateur astronomers get the idea very quickly.

There are fewer people ATMing because most of 'em, like me, just want to see the Great Out There, not build a telescope, and it's less expensive to buy than build these days.

Nobody says you have to buy a modern go-to telescope. There is still a place in this hobby for 6-inch pipe mount Newtonians. And that works both ways.


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5932605 - 06/21/13 07:56 AM

Quote:

]

That is my thinking. Scott Roberts who, with his team at Explore Science, seems to understand the market and just as important, he knows Meade.




Yeah, I think so too...my fear is that is not going to happen now. The clock is ticking and there are at least two groups of investors who want to block the deal.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5932783 - 06/21/13 10:53 AM

Quote:

Quote:

]

That is my thinking. Scott Roberts who, with his team at Explore Science, seems to understand the market and just as important, he knows Meade.




Yeah, I think so too...my fear is that is not going to happen now. The clock is ticking and there are at least two groups of investors who want to block the deal.




Rod:

I think we are all concerned.. But think of it this way.. If Meade ends up in the hands of someone else, it will probably fail and the carcass will be left for the scavengers, it will be torn apart into chewable, edible size chunks...

This could be the best thing that could happen. It could then be put back together into a tasty meal and freed from it's burdens... This could be a real advantage for Scott Roberts and crew, they are probably among the few that know the good meat and rather than being burdened by all of Meade's past, they can start afresh...

In a sense, no matter what happens, sooner or later the actual valuable assets of Meade are likely to end up in the hands of someone who can make good use of them because they have no value to anyone else...

Back in the early 1990s Schwinn Bicycle went bankrupt. They were the face of American bicycling but they were way behind the times and had been for many years. The balloon tired cruisers and Varsity's were remember from our younger years, they were not very good bicycles, they were already gone. Schwinn, much like Meade and Celestron, outsourced their manufacturing to Taiwan and like Meade and Celestron, took on a much reduced role...

But beginning in 1938, all those years while Schwinn was producing heavy, overweight bicycles that were outdated by the standards of the rest of the world, they were also producing a limited number of very high quality road bicycles, the legendary Schwinn Paramounts. The Paramounts were comparable in quality to the finest European bicycles and used components from Europe.

When Schwinn went under, there was not a lot of value. One thing of value was the Paramount name and that went to the new owners. But Richard Schwinn knew the value of the Paramount name and more importantly of the history and the factory, the workers who built the Paramounts. So Richard Schwinn bought everything but the name, renamed them after the location of the factory, Waterford, Wisconsin and so today, the legend that is the Schwinn Paramount continues.

Jon


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bicparker
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5932790 - 06/21/13 10:58 AM

The MIT Capital all cash proposal has been out there in one form or another since January (at least). It was basically one of the proposals that was turned down by the board in the end because MIT Capital was not signing a confidentiality agreement. The all cash offer (which is a formal tender offer file with the SEC today) as it stands calls for a removal of all Meade management and board members to be replaced with MIT Capital nominations.

Such an offer, by the way, would likely allow MIT Capital to take full advantage of certain tax benefits, possibly including Meade's NOL carry forward, that Meade would likely otherwise not be able to use under current circumstances. Both the MIT Capital and JOC North America offers indicate that they intend to pursue strong marketing efforts of the Meade brand into Asian and other related markets and will integrate Meade's product marketing into new and different infrastructure.

Right now, Meade is in an extreme liquidity crunch, so all of this is happening against a background of urgency with conflicting shareholder and management expectations. Rod is right, the clock is ticking. The short story is that all of the deals in the world that are good in the next month won't be worth anything for Meade's future if they don't make the next payroll or a creditor calls a note tomorrow.


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rdandrea
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: bicparker]
      #5932804 - 06/21/13 11:04 AM

Who do we write to to say that if the JOC offer goes through, we'll continue to buy Meade products, but if the MITC offer goes through, we might not?

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5932813 - 06/21/13 11:13 AM

Quote:

Who do we write to to say that if the JOC offer goes through, we'll continue to buy Meade products, but if the MITC offer goes through, we might not?




They probably don't care... but maybe someone at Meade or maybe Scott Roberts or Russ could point to this thread as evidence of the support the community has for the take over by Jinghua. Of all the things we talk about doing, this might be the most significant.

Jon


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BillP
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5932814 - 06/21/13 11:13 AM

Quote:

I'm in for $20k. No foolin'. But I want to be Chairman of the Board.

We'll hire Don Pensack as our CEO. We'll kill off everything except H Alpha and fork mounted SCTs, and then use the savings from the culling to make those much better than competitors can touch. We'll move manufacturing back to the US.

In 5 years, we'll be buying Celestron from Synta, ES from JOC and Lunt. Muahahahahaha! Then we'll take it public again, retire as rich men and women, and then let some group of Wallstreet bozos run it back into the ground so our kids can wash, rinse, repeat.

Two years ago three buddies and I talked about taking over Meade as a hobby project. It is that cheap.

Regards,

Jim





Hmmmm. You are suggesting a company Of-the-Observer, By-the-Observer, and For-the-Observer? That just might soar!!


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gnowellsct
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Eigen]
      #5932822 - 06/21/13 11:20 AM

Quote:

You obviously know very little of what PE firms do, besides what you have learned from mainstream news sensationalism. There is absolutely no business sense behind acquiring Meade and selling it piece by piece. It would be like buying a Patek Philippe, tearing apart and and selling it off as metal scrap.




I question whether Meade runs like a fine watch.


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bicparker
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5932859 - 06/21/13 11:46 AM

Quote:

Who do we write to to say that if the JOC offer goes through, we'll continue to buy Meade products, but if the MITC offer goes through, we might not?




You can write to the Meade Board. That may not really matter since they won't really have any control over the filed MITC public tender. I'm also not sure whether it will matter anyhow since both competing groups are indicating that, if they are successful in taking over Meade, one of their big areas of marketing emphasis will be in the Asian markets.

At this point, nothing is really personal, it is just business. Fairness doesn't necessarily play here (unfortunately).

Those are strictly my thoughts, of course.


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Kevdog
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Patrick]
      #5932904 - 06/21/13 12:16 PM

Quote:

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick




When I went to buy my first scope last year my wife and I only knew of 2 main brands, Meade and Orion. Celestron was that "other brand". Once you're fully in the hobby, it's easy to forget what people outside know. Meade has a BIG name and that's not something to be taken lightly.

Just like in cameras, there's Canikon. Other companies like Olympus and Pentax make great cameras, but people KNOW Canon and Nikon.


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Kevdog
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Kevdog]
      #5932957 - 06/21/13 12:55 PM

Btw, I'd be in for $1k.

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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: BillP]
      #5933065 - 06/21/13 01:56 PM

That is precisely what we have been talking about.

-Rich


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: bicparker]
      #5933085 - 06/21/13 02:05 PM

Pretty obviously "MITCapital" doesn't actually exist- they don't appear anywhere in the world before the Meade announcement. So, the question there is, "Whose sock puppet is that?" They make claims about wanting to go out and do something with marketing, but if they are able to do that, then "MITCapital" is a front for someone we already know. If they really are just a group of investors, then the chop shop is the probable outcome.

It's going to come down to whether the existing stockholders want to have something survive their ownership or not for a 7% difference in sales price.

-Rich

Quote:

The MIT Capital all cash proposal has been out there in one form or another since January (at least). It was basically one of the proposals that was turned down by the board in the end because MIT Capital was not signing a confidentiality agreement. The all cash offer (which is a formal tender offer file with the SEC today) as it stands calls for a removal of all Meade management and board members to be replaced with MIT Capital nominations.

Such an offer, by the way, would likely allow MIT Capital to take full advantage of certain tax benefits, possibly including Meade's NOL carry forward, that Meade would likely otherwise not be able to use under current circumstances. Both the MIT Capital and JOC North America offers indicate that they intend to pursue strong marketing efforts of the Meade brand into Asian and other related markets and will integrate Meade's product marketing into new and different infrastructure.

Right now, Meade is in an extreme liquidity crunch, so all of this is happening against a background of urgency with conflicting shareholder and management expectations. Rod is right, the clock is ticking. The short story is that all of the deals in the world that are good in the next month won't be worth anything for Meade's future if they don't make the next payroll or a creditor calls a note tomorrow.




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Red Comet
member


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: bicparker]
      #5933116 - 06/21/13 02:35 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Who do we write to to say that if the JOC offer goes through, we'll continue to buy Meade products, but if the MITC offer goes through, we might not?




You can write to the Meade Board. That may not really matter since they won't really have any control over the filed MITC public tender. I'm also not sure whether it will matter anyhow since both competing groups are indicating that, if they are successful in taking over Meade, one of their big areas of marketing emphasis will be in the Asian markets.

At this point, nothing is really personal, it is just business. Fairness doesn't necessarily play here (unfortunately).

Those are strictly my thoughts, of course.




The Asian market - That's mostly Japan and China. Vixen has a iron grip in Japan so that can be ignored. That leaves China as the other big market.

JOC is a major player inside China (under its Maxvision brand) and has an established supply chain and distribution network. It will be able to offer local support for Meade products, so faulty equipments don't have to be shipped back to US for warranty repair. JOC products from their ES brand has a good reputation for quality. As part of a Chinese company, Meade just need to produce quality on par with other Chinese made equipment. They can sell cheap because things will be made in house. In last year's CIOE, JOC had a 8" SCT on show next to two ES Apos, so they might have plans of making SCTs regardless of whether Meade acquisition succeeds.

Compared to JOC, MITC has no infrastructure in Asia and Meade will have to compete against Synta, JOC, and many of its OEMs in their home turf. Synta's products already have a better reputation than Meade's and they are much cheaper. Optically, Chinese made Meade optics is only as good as Chinese made optics and Mexican ones are slightly worse. The Chinese are not stupid, they only buy expensive import if that import performs better than their own. Buying Chinese made apo and eyepiece, slapping a Meade logo on it and sell it back to the Chinese at a premium will never work.

It doesn't take an economist to see which can succeed and which is doomed to fail in the Asian market.


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WesC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Red Comet]
      #5933121 - 06/21/13 02:39 PM

Um, you're leaving out Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Phillipines... all part of the Asian market.

And don't forget about that little country, India!


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wolfman_4_ever
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: WesC]
      #5933213 - 06/21/13 03:48 PM

.

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jrbarnett
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: WesC]
      #5933289 - 06/21/13 04:38 PM

And Australia and New Zealand, also normally included in the APAC region.

- Jim


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Paul G]
      #5933600 - 06/21/13 07:54 PM

Very nice!

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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Kevdog]
      #5934144 - 06/22/13 06:28 AM

Quote:

Btw, I'd be in for $1k.




Better have another 10K to throw in too...the purchase price would be just the beginning...


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cuivienor
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5934145 - 06/22/13 06:33 AM

Vixen has an iron grip on the Christmas Scopes in Japan. Meade an Celestron are pretty popular for more serious applications here, with Meare being cheaper than Celestron (or Vixen for that matter). Apparently the LX80 is selling like hotcakes according to the Meade reseller here. Celestron is also starting to appear in mainstream electronics stores (the travel scope series).

Saying that Vixen has an iron grip in Japan is incorrect I would say.


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pubquiz
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 10/07/04

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: cuivienor]
      #5934154 - 06/22/13 06:59 AM

In March I did one of those 'Fantasy Share Portfolios' with Halifax building Society here in the UK.

You get a pretend £10000 to invest which you divide between companies of your choice.

I picked 10 companies in industries relating to my hobbies/interests ..one of them being Meade.

Since then the Meade share price has more than doubled!

The imaginary £1000 original investment has made a profit of £1658!

If only I had put my life savings in real money in

Wish I had a crystal ball ....I would now possess a new mount and a big TAK etc

Tom

P.S. The mount wouldn't be a Meade


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: pubquiz]
      #5934387 - 06/22/13 11:01 AM

No- only the merger bid did that. Look at what would have happened last March to last June. The stock didn't rise due to company performance. All you are looking at is what you would have had the opportunity to make with insider trading knowledge, so don't have regrets.

And since it isn't clear who MITC actually is, the future for 6 months from now is very uncertain. They may be kunming looking to directly gain access to markets, they may be vultures, heck, they may be Synta looking to buy the competing IP and end a pesky avenue for competition.

-Rich


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pubquiz
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5934628 - 06/22/13 01:27 PM

Hi Rich

it's OK I don't have regrets

Just thought I would post in this thread as it's got a spurious link.

Yes it would be great (in most ways) if we could see the future.

Wish Meade well anyway whatever the future holds.

Tom


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gmartin02
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5934682 - 06/22/13 02:10 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Btw, I'd be in for $1k.




Better have another 10K to throw in too...the purchase price would be just the beginning...




Rod,

I'm surprised you are the first one to mention this. With so many posters talking (fantasizing) about chipping in to pool enough money to buy Meade, without a MASSIVE additional amount of capitol after the purchase, Meade fails anyway (not to mention the amateur investors all losing some to all of their money). Meade is losing money hand over fist every month, and even with a great management team, it would take at least a couple of years to turn the cash flow around. Also, no-one is going to extend a line of credit to a group of amateur astronomers who just purchased a failing company, so this idea probably has the highest probability of Meade going under permanently. It is a nice dream, but one that is not based on reality.


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Stew57
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5934717 - 06/22/13 02:29 PM

Oh no! Nothing like a dose of reality to bring everyone down. Most people have no idea what it takes to keep a business going.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5934746 - 06/22/13 02:49 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Btw, I'd be in for $1k.




Better have another 10K to throw in too...the purchase price would be just the beginning...




Rod,

I'm surprised you are the first one to mention this. With so many posters talking (fantasizing) about chipping in to pool enough money to buy Meade, without a MASSIVE additional amount of capitol after the purchase, Meade fails anyway (not to mention the amateur investors all losing some to all of their money). Meade is losing money hand over fist every month, and even with a great management team, it would take at least a couple of years to turn the cash flow around. Also, no-one is going to extend a line of credit to a group of amateur astronomers who just purchased a failing company, so this idea probably has the highest probability of Meade going under permanently. It is a nice dream, but one that is not based on reality.





GMartin....

No no no. You are wrong.

I mentioned in an earlier post (first day I believe) fairly clearly that not only would folks have to purchase the stock, BUT also have to raise sufficient capital for operations, investments and growth. If $30 million was raised, for example, I am pretty certain there would not only be sufficient working capital, but also some of the folks on this message board are in fact business leaders and experts so I am confident they could drum up something. Right now, I am not interested in purchasing Meade as I have other major business deals going (plus it is not the field I am an expert in on the business side, plus I have no channels there to work from), and I am very confident in Scott and Russ and the team they are working with.

One other problem with your statement. I am an amateur astronomer, yet I can work several banking, business and contractual deals without a problem for a variety of conditions. Understand, there is an entire range of income represented on this board - folks who cobble together components and parts to build something, those who look for stuff on ebay, those who save every penny to just to get a $2,000 system, mid-range buyers, and folks with millions (and business leaders) who can pay cash for a PlaneWave (trust me, folks typically do not finance a PlaneWave).

Meade is losing money right now, because people are slowing their purchases - this creates a death spiral. No purchases, less revenue - more loss of funds. More bad news and even less people purchase something, more loss of money...you get my drift.

Like I said, people should purchase as usual. I am. I am looking forward to seeing my purchases when I get back from my business trip.

And there is a definite market for Meade. They do have a great product line.

One thing I find very curious is the Celestron folks talk about problems with Meade products and talk smack about Meade, but having scanned this board for the past couple weeks it seems folks are having lots of problems with their Celestrons and other systems.

Curious. Simply curious.

Either way, I love my Meade products, will continue to purchase from them and looking forward to their growth.


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stevew
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Stew57]
      #5934752 - 06/22/13 02:52 PM

If the sale is held up in the courts for years the real looser will be us, the astronomical community.
Meade has made many great products over the years, and with out Meade we will have less choices.

Steve


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gnowellsct
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5934932 - 06/22/13 04:28 PM

Quote:

Meade is losing money hand over fist every month,




Yeah but it's like the banking industry. Every time you take a look all it is doing is losing money. But it's *always there.* Never goes away.

GN


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5935031 - 06/22/13 05:22 PM

As far as I can tell, if you scraped together $30 mil, you would have the highest level of capitalization in the entire amateur astronomy related optical products industry. We aren't talking about Google-sized enterprises, here. The largest companies are on the order of the average car dealership.

People keep talking on CN like they are vast organizations with thousands of employees, limitless resources, and immense revenue. It just isn't that way. Individuals matter a lot in these shops.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Btw, I'd be in for $1k.




Better have another 10K to throw in too...the purchase price would be just the beginning...




Rod,

I'm surprised you are the first one to mention this. With so many posters talking (fantasizing) about chipping in to pool enough money to buy Meade, without a MASSIVE additional amount of capitol after the purchase, Meade fails anyway (not to mention the amateur investors all losing some to all of their money). Meade is losing money hand over fist every month, and even with a great management team, it would take at least a couple of years to turn the cash flow around. Also, no-one is going to extend a line of credit to a group of amateur astronomers who just purchased a failing company, so this idea probably has the highest probability of Meade going under permanently. It is a nice dream, but one that is not based on reality.





GMartin....

No no no. You are wrong.

I mentioned in an earlier post (first day I believe) fairly clearly that not only would folks have to purchase the stock, BUT also have to raise sufficient capital for operations, investments and growth. If $30 million was raised, for example, I am pretty certain there would not only be sufficient working capital, but also some of the folks on this message board are in fact business leaders and experts so I am confident they could drum up something. Right now, I am not interested in purchasing Meade as I have other major business deals going (plus it is not the field I am an expert in on the business side, plus I have no channels there to work from), and I am very confident in Scott and Russ and the team they are working with.

One other problem with your statement. I am an amateur astronomer, yet I can work several banking, business and contractual deals without a problem for a variety of conditions. Understand, there is an entire range of income represented on this board - folks who cobble together components and parts to build something, those who look for stuff on ebay, those who save every penny to just to get a $2,000 system, mid-range buyers, and folks with millions (and business leaders) who can pay cash for a PlaneWave (trust me, folks typically do not finance a PlaneWave).

Meade is losing money right now, because people are slowing their purchases - this creates a death spiral. No purchases, less revenue - more loss of funds. More bad news and even less people purchase something, more loss of money...you get my drift.

Like I said, people should purchase as usual. I am. I am looking forward to seeing my purchases when I get back from my business trip.

And there is a definite market for Meade. They do have a great product line.

One thing I find very curious is the Celestron folks talk about problems with Meade products and talk smack about Meade, but having scanned this board for the past couple weeks it seems folks are having lots of problems with their Celestrons and other systems.

Curious. Simply curious.

Either way, I love my Meade products, will continue to purchase from them and looking forward to their growth.




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Dwight J
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5935071 - 06/22/13 05:50 PM

Well if Meade disappears that will make all my Meade equipment collector items. I truly hope they survive and one day thrive again.

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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5935143 - 06/22/13 06:44 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Btw, I'd be in for $1k.




Better have another 10K to throw in too...the purchase price would be just the beginning...




Rod,

I'm surprised you are the first one to mention this. With so many posters talking (fantasizing) about chipping in to pool enough money to buy Meade, without a MASSIVE additional amount of capitol after the purchase, Meade fails anyway (not to mention the amateur investors all losing some to all of their money). Meade is losing money hand over fist every month, and even with a great management team, it would take at least a couple of years to turn the cash flow around. Also, no-one is going to extend a line of credit to a group of amateur astronomers who just purchased a failing company, so this idea probably has the highest probability of Meade going under permanently. It is a nice dream, but one that is not based on reality.




I mentioned it here within page 4.

David


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5935241 - 06/22/13 07:59 PM

I asked what folks thought about either setting up a reborn Meade focused on the old core business of SCTs and fork mounts with the solar sideline (as Interesting Jim had suggested) or just the SCTs and fork mounts alone if Meade proved unattainable. I got a combination of derision about what a lousy investment that was and crickets from just about everyone else who had piped up earlier.

So, I don't know if this effort is suffering from an over abundance of naive enthusiasm for trying to save Meade or producing a similar role in the marketplace.

If anything, it seems we are at the other extreme. I'm waiting for someone to point out it is wildly optimistic to think amateur astronomers would be able to acquire ballpoint pens to sign legal papers even if we lined up the other resources to start a small shop of our own.

-Rich


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5935511 - 06/22/13 10:50 PM

If I may make a suggestion, interested parties need to find a place that they can inject ideas that will comprise a business plan. Something like starting a blog spot or some such thing that is only visible to truly interested parties. Unless you find an investor(s) that are willing to put up long term capital, you're going to have to get a bank involved or some sort of venture capitalist. You're going to need a well thought out business plan that does one thing; tells the investor/bank how you're going to pay back the money. They don't care about plans with pretty pie charts and graphs, they want to see what kind of homework you did and if your plan to pay back the money is a sound plan. I know I wouldn't commit a penny until I saw some sort of well thought out plan.

David


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johnnyha
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5935564 - 06/22/13 11:30 PM

Meade needs Tabatha.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5935658 - 06/23/13 12:51 AM

Quote:

If I may make a suggestion, interested parties need to find a place that they can inject ideas that will comprise a business plan. Something like starting a blog spot or some such thing that is only visible to truly interested parties. Unless you find an investor(s) that are willing to put up long term capital, you're going to have to get a bank involved or some sort of venture capitalist. You're going to need a well thought out business plan that does one thing; tells the investor/bank how you're going to pay back the money. They don't care about plans with pretty pie charts and graphs, they want to see what kind of homework you did and if your plan to pay back the money is a sound plan. I know I wouldn't commit a penny until I saw some sort of well thought out plan.

David




Very true David.

With our business we typically write a business plan once year. Also, all our commercialization efforts involve a full up business plan. All our new projects/business adventures also have business plans. Our experience shows it is best to start with a 5 page executive summary, and then up to a 12 page plan. For more extensive operations we expand to whatever is required.

I suspect the two organizations bidding on Meade have done a full up business plan and have completed their due diligence. I would also suspect most of the vendors supporting this field of study - Meade, Celestron, Questar, iOptron, etc - complete a business plan at least once per year or two. If not, yikes!


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5935746 - 06/23/13 01:56 AM

David,

Your point is well taken. But before writing a business plan, it seemed prudent to take a moment to see if there is even a reason to. And I'll go ahead and admit to a secret agenda- I've wanted to start a company for some time now, but I've been unable to find the magic formula where it is something not on the shelf, but the demand and finances don't obviously show irreconciable flaws within half an hour of starting the spreadsheet.

In this case, I was interested largely because Meade actually had been a going concern, and all flip comments aside, pretty obviously if Celestron can keep going in that market, there is still a market. Of course, there has been the problem where it looked like there may be enough room for one, but not two primes in the exact same niche. And that's fair enough in my mind-the two of them had been barely surviving enough times to make the point.

So, I moved on a little and asked, "OK, so what if one was going to try to breathe lasting life into Meade- what is that?" Well, I come to the conclusion more cash to burn through is as futile as sending more young men to the front was in WWI. Doing more of what has been done already is no answer. So, that immediately means this has to be something different, but related, or there is no reason to play with this idea.

Going to a few star parties shows there is lasting interest in SCTs on forks. And that would seem to be a core to stick to. With that said, these somehow have to be meaningfully distinguished in the marketplace to have a niche. And it has to be a good enough reason to overcome background discussions about the company's recent near bankruptcy. I'm enough of a business student to be aware of the three successful strategies: Be the cheapest OR be the best OR serve a niche market perfectly. Claiming to go out to be the cheapest in the face of Synta sounds ridiculous, so that's out. Being the best out of the gate needs a scenario check- rematch with RCOptical? Take on AP? My groin smarts just thinking about how well that is likely to go. But then there are niches who can be served well, for example with superior fork systems for the mobile crowd and small robotic observatories. Modular SCTs for specific missions and ease of modification for new roles. It isn't everyone who cares about these, but I do know who these people are. But that isn't a global product producer for everyman.

I don't think this level of discussion has anything especially secretive in it, and since I'd be in the position of hoping to recruit people from CN to do this, I'm not sure how to do that without an initial open discussion. Although it isn't a conventional peer review, weak ideas do have a short half-life around here.

Is a full scale Meade as it was viable? Frankly, I don't think so. Something has to be different. And that's a lot of something.

There's also a part where my own mind rebels a bit in the discussions about global distribution networks and vast dealer networks, and thinking about how all that activity can mean a $1 mil in sales a month and that's starvation with people talking about your exit from the marketplace.

It makes me think of the airlines- vast fortunes tied up in aircraft with armies of people dilligently doing thousands of tasks to keep them flying, thousands more making a transport network run, burning millions of gallons of fuel to transport peope at sub-SUV class mileage despite 110 years of trying to make airplanes more efficient. But in the big picture, they are barely making enough to keep their heads above water, and the people they serve feel like they were poorly treated when everything went as well as it can.

It kind of makes sense to not write a business plan explaining to investors how we have a scheme to take over the world with something just good enough to sell but not so good it's eroding the margins. That isn't where Roland, Tom, or Alvan got their start. They started with something you could touch.

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (06/23/13 02:06 AM)


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5935896 - 06/23/13 05:51 AM

Quote:

In this case, I was interested largelybecauseMeadeactually had been a going concern, and all flip commentsaside,prettyobviouslyif Celestron can keep going in that market, there is still a market.




Rich:

I look at the Celestron turn around as an example of why the Jinghua transaction is the right solution. It's about the best possible outcome for a once respected US manufacturer that was done in when manufacturing shifted to another country. Most often it seems the only value left is in the name.

To turn Meade around will take someone/a group who knows and understands the market, the telescope business and Meade. To turn it around one must know a lot about the specifics. For example, it may be that the cost of manufacturing SCTs in Mexico is just too expensive.

A business model needs to be based on fundamental knowledge of the business.

Four million dollars is not a lot of money. But buying Meade for four million is like buying a broken down old car, you don't really know what you are getting, what is really wrong with it and whether it is even worth repairing... But what you do know is that its going to cost a lot more than you paid for it and that the right person to buy such a car is already a skilled mechanic.

Jon


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5935968 - 06/23/13 08:24 AM

Quote:



Rod,

I'm surprised you are the first one to mention this. With so many posters talking (fantasizing) about chipping in to pool enough money to buy Meade, without a MASSIVE additional amount of capitol after the purchase, Meade fails anyway (not to mention the amateur investors all losing some to all of their money). Meade is losing money hand over fist every month, and even with a great management team, it would take at least a couple of years to turn the cash flow around. Also, no-one is going to extend a line of credit to a group of amateur astronomers who just purchased a failing company, so this idea probably has the highest probability of Meade going under permanently. It is a nice dream, but one that is not based on reality.




I think at least one person mentioned this before I did...but anyhoo. It's a lovely dream, Meade run by amateurs, but the reality is that it would take quite a lot to pull the company back. My assumption is that, as is usually the case with situations like this, the conditions at Meade are considerably worse than they appear, and that it would take a long-term commitment with cash to go with it to reset the Meade clock to say, "1995."


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MikeBOKC
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5936088 - 06/23/13 09:52 AM

Watching this and similar threads for some time I think we can summarize:

-- Meade has at least a ten year history of rolling out very promising products with great fanfare, for actual and potential customers to soon discover that they either don't work very well or don't work at all. That is usually fatal to a company selling complex products.

-- They are basically broke and headed for bankruptcy unless someone buys the whole shebang and dumps considerable capital in for a significant period of time.

-- They seem to have made a strategic decision in recent years to focus on the imaging sub-market in astronomy, which is a relatively small niche market to begin with. As a visual observer I would have not interest in Starlock for example, or on the wedge-mounted LX600.

-- Their strongest point has, for some time, been their optics, which I think most people agree are excellent. Their weakness has been the platform.

-- Someone will buy them, or they will go belly up. Not a darn thing we can do to impact that outcome.

-- If the former and if it is a competent buyer, old Meade will soon give way to new Meade, and in 3-5 years they'll be back in the mix as a major player. If the latter, the best products will re-emerge under a different name.

-- Ain't no ad hoc CN coalition going to ride to the rescue.

-- No matter what happens, the sun will rise tomorrow and there will still be a number of good choices for people involved in this hobby.

The whole saga reminds me of the dead cart scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail . . . "no really, I'm getting better." "no he's not." "Yes I am." "Thunk!"


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OleCuss
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5936105 - 06/23/13 10:04 AM

Maybe I can contribute a little more here. Useful to remember that I'm no titan of industry and have never managed a company. Oh, I've been on the board of a small specialized enterprise - but that isn't nearly the same thing.

I think it is important to remember that JOC already owns Meade in Europe. It'd be interesting to know how they run that.

Important also to remember that Explore Scientific has been having problems with supplying their eyepiece market. I've been hearing lots of reports that people just can't get them and that there have been more quality issues when they get them.

I keep reading of Scott Roberts as the potential savior of Meade. No offense at all to Mr. Roberts, but he wouldn't be the one running the show - it'd be JOC telling him how he was going to run Meade. So even if Mr. Roberts is magical, putting him nominally in charge of Meade would not be magical.

Nevertheless, if JOC buys Meade I'd expect customer service to actually improve in the short-term. I'm not at all sure what would happen in the long-term, however.

Also, let's assume for the moment that Meade goes bankrupt. That still leaves a lot of assets out there which can be purchased.

Maybe someone like Orion Optics would be interested in picking up the Mexican manufacturing piece of things?

Maybe MITC would buy that part of things?

In any case, JOC would still likely be able to make a lot of the lower end "Meade" scopes. After all, it may be worth remembering that in Europe you can still buy the ETX-125 PE? Yup, JOC might be willing to sell stuff to us through their Explore Scientific subsidiary that we've not been able to get for years.

I just don't see the components of Meade going away - even if they go bankrupt. And even if they go bankrupt, remember that it might not be a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? They could try for a Chapter 11 or 13 while working through a sale? Not entirely sure how that would work.

But you can bet that in the case of a bankruptcy someone is going to be looking at the Meade assets and considering snapping them up. It could even be someone like Vixen or maybe Orion Optics, etc.

Personally, I'm quite willing to consider further Meade purchases as needs, funds, and availability dictate. May not be able to get warranty work, but I just don't see Meade evaporating even if they go bankrupt.


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belgrade
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: OleCuss]
      #5936318 - 06/23/13 12:32 PM

The last 2 posts by rmollise and OleCus make a lot of sense. But, whatever happens, the fact remains that Meade has marked the last few decades by its products. Let us all hope that it will survive in whatever (re) incarnation for the good of the world's amateur astronomy community. If it doesn't, we all loose. Our hobby will survive but it won't be the same

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jimb1001
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: belgrade]
      #5936479 - 06/23/13 02:09 PM

The odds of Meade surviving as one of the "big two" are nil.

A long history of ups and downs has created a number, perhaps small, of Meade bashers who will offset any amount of new advertising. "Give 'em a chance" will generate a squeaky wheel chorus of "why take the risk".

Increasing complexity requires a trained and experienced support staff. You can make it, but if you can't support it you won't be successful.

Let's say Meade pins its hopes on higher end products like the 850. In that price range hand holding, like AP is expected. There is a large, up front, cost that will take lots of money to put in place.

Bringing a technology company back from the brink is a costly endeavor that, in this case, shows little hope for return on investment.

Better an established company should buy Meade, pare back the product line to a supportable and profitable few lines and let the brand work its way back to prominence slowly but surely.

As a head to head competitor to Celestron across all product lines, I don't see it happening any time soon.


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dawziecat
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: jimb1001]
      #5936576 - 06/23/13 03:06 PM

Quote:

As a head to head competitor to Celestron across all product lines, I don't see it happening any time soon.




No argument here. I have no dog in this fight. I can't help but recall though, back in the eighties, after receiving a humungous, very slick Meade catalog on heavy, glossy paper, that this company was just going to utterly destroy Celestron in the marketplace!

Strange how it all turned out.


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: jimb1001]
      #5936715 - 06/23/13 04:37 PM

The number of people saying its pointless to try amazes me. What's even more, the only ones who say anything could be done say it would take far more than the company has left in it just to pare down and succeed at doing a fraction of what it has been attempting lately. If its really that dire, why are there any buyers?

-Rich


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5936745 - 06/23/13 04:53 PM

Quote:

The number of people saying its pointless to try amazes me. What's even more, the only ones who say anything could be done say it would take far more than the company has left in it just to pare down and succeed at doing a fraction of what it has been attempting lately. If its really that dire, why are there any buyers?

-Rich




The company's name has value. So do their patents and designs. Beyond that? They are in debt and there is no money in it that can be used for anything.


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rcdk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5936779 - 06/23/13 05:25 PM

It is important to separate the management of the company from its products and the market.

I think the products are good, the market isn't what it was but the management of the company is probably the real problem. It looks like they simply could not bring themselves to stop spending money, always hoping the next product was going to be the home run that magically turned things around.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5936817 - 06/23/13 05:47 PM

Quote:

Quote:

If I may make a suggestion, interested parties need to find a place that they can inject ideas that will comprise a business plan. Something like starting a blog spot or some such thing that is only visible to truly interested parties. Unless you find an investor(s) that are willing to put up long term capital, you're going to have to get a bank involved or some sort of venture capitalist. You're going to need a well thought out business plan that does one thing; tells the investor/bank how you're going to pay back the money. They don't care about plans with pretty pie charts and graphs, they want to see what kind of homework you did and if your plan to pay back the money is a sound plan. I know I wouldn't commit a penny until I saw some sort of well thought out plan.

David




Very true David.

With our business we typically write a business plan once year. Also, all our commercialization efforts involve a full up business plan. All our new projects/business adventures also have business plans. Our experience shows it is best to start with a 5 page executive summary, and then up to a 12 page plan. For more extensive operations we expand to whatever is required.

I suspect the two organizations bidding on Meade have done a full up business plan and have completed their due diligence. I would also suspect most of the vendors supporting this field of study - Meade, Celestron, Questar, iOptron, etc - complete a business plan at least once per year or two. If not, yikes!




You've got ducks in a row! This reminds me of a take off from the 6 Million Dollar Man; We've got the technology, now all we need is the money.

David


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5936827 - 06/23/13 05:52 PM

The fact that this thread has gone ten pages and has not been taken to the wood shed speaks volumes. While it my be an exercise in futility, it shows that a lot of good thoughts can posted on the open forum and kept at a more or less even keel. I say, good form all 'round!

Now, I hope I didn't jinx it.

David


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5936874 - 06/23/13 06:24 PM

Quote:

Quote:



Rod,

I'm surprised you are the first one to mention this. With so many posters talking (fantasizing) about chipping in to pool enough money to buy Meade, without a MASSIVE additional amount of capitol after the purchase, Meade fails anyway (not to mention the amateur investors all losing some to all of their money). Meade is losing money hand over fist every month, and even with a great management team, it would take at least a couple of years to turn the cash flow around. Also, no-one is going to extend a line of credit to a group of amateur astronomers who just purchased a failing company, so this idea probably has the highest probability of Meade going under permanently. It is a nice dream, but one that is not based on reality.




I think at least one person mentioned this before I did...but anyhoo. It's a lovely dream, Meade run by amateurs, but the reality is that it would take quite a lot to pull the company back. My assumption is that, as is usually the case with situations like this, the conditions at Meade are considerably worse than they appear, and that it would take a long-term commitment with cash to go with it to reset the Meade clock to say, "1995."




I think the time for the amateur community to vote on Meade has come and gone. We have voted with our pocketbooks...

Jon


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5936898 - 06/23/13 06:33 PM

Quote:

The number of people saying its pointless to try amazes me. What's even more, the only ones who say anything could be done say it would take far more than the company has left in it just to pare down and succeed at doing a fraction of what it has been attempting lately. If its really that dire, why are there any buyers?

-Rich




Rich:

Celestron was in a very similar position a few years back. Purchase by Synta turned things around.

It maybe that part of Meade's problems are related to moneys owed Jinghua, a previous major supplier. Some have pointed out that Meade no longer uses Jinghua... maybe they had their credit line cut off.

I see value in Meade, as Rod says, in the name, in the designs, in the patents, probably in the manufacturing facilities and distribution networks. And I am not so pessimistic regarding a turnaround in the hands of the right people, I think it could happen faster than most think but it would require people who already know the company from the inside.

Jon


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5936927 - 06/23/13 06:47 PM

Does anyone know what patents Meade currently has, other than the North and Level patent we all know about?

Chris


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5936944 - 06/23/13 06:51 PM

Quote:

I can't help but recall though, back in the eighties, after receiving a humungous, very slick Meade catalog on heavy, glossy paper, that this company was just going to utterly destroy Celestron in the marketplace!

Strange how it all turned out.




I remember those big thick catalogs too. I'm inclined to believe, though, that if Meade had spent less on them and more on quality assurance, we wouldn't be having this discussion.


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5936961 - 06/23/13 07:02 PM

This is what I have been thinking about. But somehow it seems like the consensus is Meade has gotten too close to the edge to pull back. Too much product in the field in need of TLC. Too much hardware in the distribution channel needing attention. Too much debt. Too much bad blood. It's like no one wants to consider the benefit of the doubt.

I even asked what would happen if we tried to stand up a clean sheet of paper company in a similar niche- none of the baggage, but working on SCTs with a modern modular design on updated forks with flexible mounting features. Even that immediately is getting shot down as an unfeasible investment. With that sort of response, nothing is possible. And that is what doesn't seem fair to me- that's the door slammed before word one.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

The number of people saying its pointless to try amazes me. What's even more, the only ones who say anything could be done say it would take far more than the company has left in it just to pare down and succeed at doing a fraction of what it has been attempting lately. If its really that dire, why are there any buyers?

-Rich




Rich:

Celestron was in a very similar position a few years back. Purchase by Synta turned things around.

It maybe that part of Meade's problems are related to moneys owed Jinghua, a previous major supplier. Some have pointed out that Meade no longer uses Jinghua... maybe they had their credit line cut off.

I see value in Meade, as Rod says, in the name, in the designs, in the patents, probably in the manufacturing facilities and distribution networks. And I am not so pessimistic regarding a turnaround in the hands of the right people, I think it could happen faster than most think but it would require people who already know the company from the inside.

Jon




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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5936963 - 06/23/13 07:03 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I can't help but recall though, back in the eighties, after receiving a humungous, very slick Meade catalog on heavy, glossy paper, that this company was just going to utterly destroy Celestron in the marketplace!

Strange how it all turned out.




I remember those big thick catalogs too. I'm inclined to believe, though, that if Meade had spent less on them and more on quality assurance, we wouldn't be having this discussion.




I think their catalogs had their place.

Lawsuits though... and the marketing department. I have to think their attempt to call their advanced SCT a Richey-Chretien was a major marketing blunder.

It was clearly not a Rickey-Chretien and their justification was that there was no strict definition of a R-C.. It put them up against the manufacturers of R-Cs but more importantly, the lawsuit and losing it was negative publicity, lost in the shuffle was the fact that the ACF design was a significant step forward.

Such errors happen when companies get too big and are in the hands of marketers rather than those with actual knowledge of the field.

I wonder what Astro-Physics is worth???

Jon


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5936982 - 06/23/13 07:23 PM

Quote:



I think the time for the amateur community to vote on Meade has come and gone. We have voted with our pocketbooks...

Jon




Jon

We have. I bought a 14" LX850. Wonderful telescope and system.


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5937011 - 06/23/13 07:43 PM

While I don't own a single Meade product, there is no doubt in my mind that in ~10-20 years I would be interested in a 11+" Cat/Cass, so saving Meade would be in my interest - count me in for $2k.

But if purchasing a 90mm scope results in clouds for one week, what will this CN-based takeover produce?

Edited by gezak22 (06/23/13 07:52 PM)


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: gezak22]
      #5937043 - 06/23/13 08:10 PM

Quote:

But if purchasing a 90mm scope results in clouds for one week, what will this CN-based takeover produce?




Nice!

Charles


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: greedyshark]
      #5937131 - 06/23/13 09:09 PM

I hadn't thought through the new scope curse implications...

-Rich


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5937140 - 06/23/13 09:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:



I think the time for the amateur community to vote on Meade has come and gone. We have voted with our pocketbooks...

Jon




Jon

We have. I bought a 14" LX850. Wonderful telescope and system.




I have also voted with my pocket book. I have three Meade telescopes, two refractors and a Newtonian. The Newtonian is over 30 years old, the refractors are close to it..

Jon


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5937149 - 06/23/13 09:20 PM

Quote:

This is what I have been thinking about. But somehow it seems like the consensus is Meade has gotten too close to the edge to pull back. Too much product in the field in need of TLC. Too much hardware in the distribution channel needing attention. Too much debt. Too much bad blood. It's like no one wants to consider the benefit of the doubt.




I think the difference between your thinking and mine is that I believe a successful turnaround requires someone who really knows the amateur astronomy business and really knows the company from the inside.

I do like the analogy of the old beater car.. on the outside, to the uninitiated, it looks like a bargain. But you have to be a mechanic to have a chance.. and you better be good because there are reasons that the car is for sale...

Jon


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5937180 - 06/23/13 09:46 PM

My only problem with what you are saying is it sounds like Deus Ex Machina to me. Who is this magic entity who already knows the company in and out, and knows the market perfectly, and why didn't they save it in the first place?

I agree if someone who knows the company in and out, has perfect knowledge of the business, and has perfect knowledge of the market combined with massive resources, they should do well. Then again, the company's remains offer nothing to such an entity.

Again, I went beyond asking what about Meade. And even the clean sheet is addressed that way.

My problem is folks going far beyond the beater car to if asked about putting together a kit, are also saying it's impossible to do that either.

And the point I've tried to make is the successful enterprises in this area did NOT start with a group of investors and a marketing plan. And that sort of situations is what seems most dangerous to primes. Instead, they started with some really good products, and they started small.

And in my mind, this is all about starting over.

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (06/23/13 10:18 PM)


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5937225 - 06/23/13 10:13 PM

Quote:

And in my mind, this is all about starting over.





Yep...from scratch. If that's the game, I'm in.

Charles


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: greedyshark]
      #5937238 - 06/23/13 10:24 PM

OK, that's the important list, and that isn't a public discussion.

-Rich


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5937331 - 06/24/13 12:07 AM

Quote:

Celestron was in a very similar position a few years back. Purchase by Synta turned things around.




Yes. Celestron was actually farther down the same path than Meade is now; they were well over the edge on which Meade has been teetering. The Celestron entity was in the hands of receivers and, if no buyer had appeared quickly, would have been involuntarily sold off piecemeal down to the fixtures and floor sweepings like the rest of the Tasco bankruptcy estate. Their primary supplier of import goods, with whom they had enjoyed a relationship for decades, stepped up to the plate. What followed was not a paring down nor an abandonment of existing projects. The Celestron line expanded and new products at the top of their line (CGE Pro, Edge HD series, etc.) were introduced. All this, while simultaneously transferring all American production to China with the expenses and disruptions inherent in such a move.

There are substantial parallels between the Synta/Celestron deal and the proposed JOC/Meade deal. Once more, a long-standing primary supplier with substantial knowledge of both the industry and the specific company is willing to step up. One major difference is that there are indications that the American production facilities might be retained - a major short-term savings compared to a massive transfer overseas.

There's no knowing whether this plan would succeed. However, we all watched while a recent recovery operation with a great many very similar characteristics worked quite well. It's an encouraging record.


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5937351 - 06/24/13 12:31 AM

Quote:


My only problem with what you are saying is it sounds like Deus Ex Machina to me. Who is this magic entity who already knows the company in and out, and knows the market perfectly, and why didn't they save it in the first place?

I agree if someone who knows the company in and out, has perfect knowledge of the business, and has perfect knowledge of the market combined with massive resources, they should do well. Then again, the company's remains offer nothing to such an entity.




Rich:

Based on some knowledge, some conjecture, this person and crew are the good folks at Explore Scientific. It's my understanding that Scott Roberts was quite high up in the management at Meade when he left to found Explore Scientific. From what I have seen, they understand the market and are observers themselves, they know what makes a reasonable telescope and what doesn't.

Jinghua, a long time supplier of Meade, they now own Explore Scientific as well as other parts of the Meade corp.. When Scott left Meade to form ES, I can only guess he was fed up with the Meade and thought he could do a better job himself. Hopefully... he and his crew will get the chance to show what they can do with Meade.

Jon


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cn register 5
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5937472 - 06/24/13 04:03 AM

Didn't the Celestron move from Tasco to Synta happen in two stages?

First there was some sort of management buy out from Tasco in about 2002, about the time the NS GPS scopes were released. This was from liquidation because Tasco went bankrupt.
Then there were fairly quick releases of the CGE and AT-GT series mounts, around 2003 or 4.
Then the North and Level patent battle with Meade, that was settled in about 2006 or so.
Then the Synta take over around 2006. This was about the time that production moved to China.

Celestron seems to have been a going concern throughout this, it was their parent company that got into trouble.

Chris


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5937700 - 06/24/13 10:05 AM

Yes. It was bought by the internal folks who went on to start plane wave, first. But it was poorly capitalized at that point. But that was the slice in time when the 20" Dall kirkham started touring the event circuit. Then they sold it to Synta and took the large mount and 20" telescope to start Plane Wave.

-Rich


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5937723 - 06/24/13 10:22 AM

I agree with you Jon. If the much discussed rumor that Scott Roberts will play a role in the Meade buyout is true, I doubt there will be anything more to discuss if/when that happens. Scott has proven himself with Explore Scientific and his ability to produce quality products, excellent customer service and a stable business in an unstable economy is without question in my mind. All it will take to save Meade are basically 2 things...capital and a sound business plan. If Scott is part of the buyout, Meade will rise from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix. If Scott does take over, I hope they name a new design of scope "The Phoenix."

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5937743 - 06/24/13 10:33 AM

Cash is cash and MITC, whoever that is, has the biggest bid.

So, I'd suggest JOC/ ES should be prepared to go on their own. Consider: what could you get infusing the Meade purchase price + operating capital into a company which is clearly healthy, has happy customers, and is on an upswing?

So what this all hinges on is if the Mexico facility is a secret gem whose record is more a reflection of being asked to make equipment which wasn't optimized for manufacture and properly field tested. As anywhere else, if you make perfect copies of a flawed design, your product is still flawed.

So, if the optics were coming from there, then there is reason to believe that factory has its act together and what is needed are product designs worth making. In that case, there is a real asset in buying Meade which has nothing to do with the brand name or IP.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:


My only problem with what you are saying is it sounds like Deus Ex Machina to me. Who is this magic entity who already knows the company in and out, and knows the market perfectly, and why didn't they save it in the first place?

I agree if someone who knows the company in and out, has perfect knowledge of the business, and has perfect knowledge of the market combined with massive resources, they should do well. Then again, the company's remains offer nothing to such an entity.




Rich:

Based on some knowledge, some conjecture, this person and crew are the good folks at Explore Scientific. It's my understanding that Scott Roberts was quite high up in the management at Meade when he left to found Explore Scientific. From what I have seen, they understand the market and are observers themselves, they know what makes a reasonable telescope and what doesn't.

Jinghua, a long time supplier of Meade, they now own Explore Scientific as well as other parts of the Meade corp.. When Scott left Meade to form ES, I can only guess he was fed up with the Meade and thought he could do a better job himself. Hopefully... he and his crew will get the chance to show what they can do with Meade.

Jon




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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5937835 - 06/24/13 11:26 AM

Quote:

Cash is cash and MITC, whoever that is, has the biggest bid.

So, I'd suggest JOC/ ES should be prepared to go on their own. Consider: what could you get infusing the Meade purchase price + operating capital into a company which is clearly healthy, has happy customers, and is on an upswing?

So what this all hinges on is if the Mexico facility is a secret gem whose record is more a reflection of being asked to make equipment which wasn't optimized for manufacture and properly field tested. As anywhere else, if you make perfect copies of a flawed design, your product is still flawed.

So, if the optics were coming from there, then there is reason to believe that factory has its act together and what is needed are product designs worth making. In that case, there is a real asset in buying Meade which has nothing to do with the brand name or IP.

-Rich





Rich:

You asked who would be the mythical figure with both the knowledge of the amateur astronomy business and an inside knowledge of Meade, I provided your answer.

The fact that they are interested in doing so, indicates to me that they have a pretty good idea they could make it work. We, on the other hand, do not have sufficient knowledge...

Who gets it, only the future will tell. As I conjectured earlier, when all is said and done, it may well be Jinghua, Scott Roberts and crew... why? Because they are the only ones for whom it has any actual value because they are the ones who could make it work.

Jon


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5937918 - 06/24/13 12:16 PM

It's not the same thing at all. If you want to start a new company get yourself a business plan, find some venture cap folks and go for it. Buying Meade is buying a name, lntellectual rights, l.nventory.
The reason I suggested Astronomics is in the end you have to make a profit They havve a history of running a profitable business.
While CN members could possibly raise the money, who among us has a proven track record of running a profitable business, -and - would they be in charge....


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5937938 - 06/24/13 12:33 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Btw, I'd be in for $1k.




Better have another 10K to throw in too...the purchase price would be just the beginning...




Rod,

I'm surprised you are the first one to mention this. With so many posters talking (fantasizing) about chipping in to pool enough money to buy Meade, without a MASSIVE additional amount of capitol after the purchase, Meade fails anyway (not to mention the amateur investors all losing some to all of their money). Meade is losing money hand over fist every month, and even with a great management team, it would take at least a couple of years to turn the cash flow around. Also, no-one is going to extend a line of credit to a group of amateur astronomers who just purchased a failing company, so this idea probably has the highest probability of Meade going under permanently. It is a nice dream, but one that is not based on reality.




I mentioned it here within page 4.

David




David (and Andrew),

I stand corrected about no one previously mentioning the need for working capitol in addition to the purchase price. I would have responded sooner, but I was very ill the rest of the weekend (this is the first time I have been out of bed other than to the bathroom since Saturday night).

Greg


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Geo31]
      #5938232 - 06/24/13 03:30 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Don't forget new areas of the hobby that didn't exist ten or fifteen years ago such as solar scopes and astrophotography.





No. Seriously?

I wonder what those Celestron-Williams cold cameras were?




Sorry--I had intended to say "digital astrophotography" which was quite new in the amateur world about 15 years ago. Obviously, there have been amateurs using hypered film, cold cameras, and ordinary 35mm for a long time.

The point, though, remains. I believe that a lot of additional astrophotographers have been drawn into the hobby in the past fifteen years or so with the advent of digital tools.


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jared]
      #5938242 - 06/24/13 03:41 PM

Very long thread and I admit I didn't read most of it but I can't help but thinking the following:

1) Meade is at risk of not lasting until the stockholder vote.
2) If that happens they close their doors.
3) JOC wants the company and they want to revive the company .
4) Some mysterious chinese company, that didn't have a website a week ago, who nobody had heard of, has made an offer.
5) If the confusion that ensues causes delays in the merger deal between Meade and JOC, that would extend the window in which Meade can run totally out of money and close doors.
6) If that happens, that company can buy up IP and sell them to anyone. Namely another chinese company.

Lastly

7) What chinese owned telescope related company has the most to gain from this chaos?

If Synta can make Meade go away AND buy up some of their patents etc, wouldn't that be a win win? And all that for a very low price. I don't think the actual offer if real. I think the chaos that they are causing, the delays while attorneys battle it out, the "limbo" they created, is their real goal.

Smart move on their part no doubt. Worse case senario what happens to those who's telescopes are being fixed under warranty when things get that bad? Any way they will ever get fixed and returned?

Edited by Pak (06/24/13 03:43 PM)


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5938313 - 06/24/13 04:22 PM

Quote:

It'd probably be a safer bet to buy lottery tickets.




That's Meade's Plan C, sell the company off thru a lottery......they could actually stand to make more money this way, say $10 a ticket.....


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Pedestal]
      #5938321 - 06/24/13 04:28 PM

Quote:

Humm.. I really don't think the idea of a direct CN takeover of Meade is practical. Even if the money could be raised, setting up the legal end would probably take too long. BUT.... Supposed Astronomics made a bid, backed with money from a fund owned by CN members...... I think the legal loops would be less daunting. A simple LLC with cash loaning Astronomics money for a share/stake in Meade.... There is probably a dozen or more reasons why this would not work, but.....




Maybe we could get 501(c)(4) status from the IRS, then donors would not be listed......


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Pak]
      #5938479 - 06/24/13 06:12 PM

If the May 30 report is to be believed, how is Meade going to make payroll between now and the October shareholders meeting?

I think they must be laying on the sauce a little bit to make a buyout sound more palatable to the investors. Otherwise, the the meeting would have to be in August at the latest.

On the other hand, there is quite a bit of time for other actions, so many of which would be detrimental.

-Rich

Quote:

Very long thread and I admit I didn't read most of it but I can't help but thinking the following:

1) Meade is at risk of not lasting until the stockholder vote.
2) If that happens they close their doors.
3) JOC wants the company and they want to revive the company .
4) Some mysterious chinese company, that didn't have a website a week ago, who nobody had heard of, has made an offer.
5) If the confusion that ensues causes delays in the merger deal between Meade and JOC, that would extend the window in which Meade can run totally out of money and close doors.
6) If that happens, that company can buy up IP and sell them to anyone. Namely another chinese company.

Lastly

7) What chinese owned telescope related company has the most to gain from this chaos?

If Synta can make Meade go away AND buy up some of their patents etc, wouldn't that be a win win? And all that for a very low price. I don't think the actual offer if real. I think the chaos that they are causing, the delays while attorneys battle it out, the "limbo" they created, is their real goal.

Smart move on their part no doubt. Worse case senario what happens to those who's telescopes are being fixed under warranty when things get that bad? Any way they will ever get fixed and returned?




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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Stew57]
      #5938779 - 06/24/13 09:54 PM

Meade needs a miracle. They have been teetering on failure for quite some time. Each time they get some money, they try to make a big move and it bites them. They need someone to run it that can understand that they need to try to sell what they have that works best and then sell those items.
Blueman


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EddWen
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5939024 - 06/25/13 12:52 AM

Pedantic Mode ON from a prior life.

A few Business M&A basics that may have relevance to the Meade situation.

---Unless the by-laws of incorporation specifically require a shareholder vote on any M&A activity (this is rare) the Board of Directors has the full authority to accept or reject any offers.

---No one involved in the process is allowed to discuss any of the proceedings with anyone outside of the situation. This is a legal obligation of those involved.

---The BoD is not required to accept the highest monetary offer. It can consider other attributes from an offer within the bounds of performing their fiduciary responsibilities to the shareholders.

---Most VCs create a ‘named fund’ through which the VC Managing Directors work. The fund is not required to carry the name of the VC group. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. The funds are usually a legal entity such as a LLP or LLC formed specifically for a purpose.

---The BoD should avoid bankruptcy if at all possible. BK puts the shareholders at the lowest rung of the ladder with regard to holding any value. A Judge in a Bankruptcy Court will have the authority to decide which claimants would get what share of proceeds resulting from the sale of assets. Any funds/assets need not be distributed equally.

---Funds to keep a company operating through a troubling period are sometimes available to borrow, at very high interest rates. Such loans are written to usually have first claim in a bankruptcy proceeding.

---In the several situations I am familiar with, manufacturing in Mexico is done on a contract basis. As such, the facility is not the company’s asset. And, in fact, if a bankruptcy occurs, the contractor may have a major claim in Bankruptcy Court.

Pass the popcorn.


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: EddWen]
      #5939035 - 06/25/13 01:11 AM

Edd,

Defnitely interesting. OK, so what is the named fund for? Liability protection?

-Rich


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EddWen
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5939053 - 06/25/13 01:39 AM

No. The funds are built as a separate entity for a specific purpose. Investors in the VC group (VCs work with other peoples money) can chose to place some of their money in the entity, or not. Some are more risky and some less. Some may invest in medical products and other in blood diamond mining, etc.

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5939054 - 06/25/13 01:43 AM

The named fund could be to hide the name of the company involved. I remember when three companies were working together on a project, but to protect their identities, they were each given a code name so if any document did slip out there was still no way to track it to a source.

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5939084 - 06/25/13 02:23 AM

This thread made me very sad. I don't like to see any businesses in this shape.

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bicparker
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: EddWen]
      #5939192 - 06/25/13 06:24 AM

Some interesting and very good points.

I'm confused on your first one, however. The Board of Directors does have authority to approve or reject, but only as a recommendation to the shareholders. Merger adoption still requires a full shareholder vote (as noted in the filing 14A proxy). This is why a special shareholder meeting was called. And such an action still doesn't prevent outside public tender offers.

It should be noted that the MIT Capital public tender offer (filed June 21) is being made outside the internal board process and they were rejected, for the record at least, because they would not sign on to a confidentiality agreement, and were thus never bound by it. So the legal obligation only extends only to those who sign on to that. MIT Capital probably did not sign on because they wanted to keep their public tender offer option open, knowing that management would not likely accept their offer since it included the dissolution of the current management.

This public tender offer is interesting because, among other things, it basically recognizes the poison pills in Meade (namely the executive golden parachutes) as not that significant an obstruction. MIT Capital is essentially saying, "We'll spend about $5 million or so to buy the Meade assets and still come out ahead and to heck with their management."

When you mention avoiding bankruptcy, I presume you are referring to Chapter 7 liquidation, as opposed to Chapter 11 reorganization. At this point, of course, Meade has very little other recourse than Chapter 7 since they already have exhausted most, if not all, funding options over the past few years. Their most recent loan was a very high interest loan (prime +4% floating with a minimum monthly interest accrual) with extremely favorable terms for the lender (no covenants but it can be called anytime). Meade might have been able to make a play for Chapter 11 a few years ago and, in hindsight, this might have been a good option. Unfortunately, they were in a situation where their book value far exceeded their market value, which created other dynamics that obviated that route.

Make no mistake here... The MIT Capital offer is a form of liquidation where MIT Capital will take the place of the bankruptcy judge and receiver. The liquidation will essentially move the Meade assets into MIT Capital's business model how they see fit (as indicated in their filings). The Meade name will likely persist, but the old Meade as we know it will not.

The MIT Capital offer throws a bit of a monkey in the wrench since they are basically making a direct public appeal to the shareholders to immediately liquidate their shares for what is left of the market value of Meade. Then MIT Capital will determine how Meade fits into their overall business model (this includes terminating the current executive management altogether). The other deal does not maximize the shareholder market value, but it instead constructs a route of continuity for Meade. Since there really aren't that many shareholders involved, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Do they want their money or do they want Meade to continue more or less as is?

Quote:

Pedantic Mode ON from a prior life.

A few Business M&A basics that may have relevance to the Meade situation.

---Unless the by-laws of incorporation specifically require a shareholder vote on any M&A activity (this is rare) the Board of Directors has the full authority to accept or reject any offers.

---No one involved in the process is allowed to discuss any of the proceedings with anyone outside of the situation. This is a legal obligation of those involved.

---The BoD is not required to accept the highest monetary offer. It can consider other attributes from an offer within the bounds of performing their fiduciary responsibilities to the shareholders.

---Most VCs create a ‘named fund’ through which the VC Managing Directors work. The fund is not required to carry the name of the VC group. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. The funds are usually a legal entity such as a LLP or LLC formed specifically for a purpose.

---The BoD should avoid bankruptcy if at all possible. BK puts the shareholders at the lowest rung of the ladder with regard to holding any value. A Judge in a Bankruptcy Court will have the authority to decide which claimants would get what share of proceeds resulting from the sale of assets. Any funds/assets need not be distributed equally.

---Funds to keep a company operating through a troubling period are sometimes available to borrow, at very high interest rates. Such loans are written to usually have first claim in a bankruptcy proceeding.

---In the several situations I am familiar with, manufacturing in Mexico is done on a contract basis. As such, the facility is not the company’s asset. And, in fact, if a bankruptcy occurs, the contractor may have a major claim in Bankruptcy Court.

Pass the popcorn.




Edited by bicparker (06/25/13 06:28 AM)


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Qwickdraw
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Pedestal]
      #5939204 - 06/25/13 06:40 AM

Quote:

Buying Meade is buying a name, lntellectual rights, inventory.

Hubert



you are also buying liabilities,dept in most cases.


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5939265 - 06/25/13 08:05 AM

No stock expertise here . . . none whatsoever.

No interest in Meade either, neither financial nor emotional.

I note though that share price on the NASDAQ is now UP to $3.70. Quite far north of the JOC offer of $3.45.

Considering the desperate news of the imminent demise of this company, it is a mystery to me why stock prices would be going up?

It's all right to hope for a Phoenix-like rebirth but this looks more like a death watch to my uneducated eye.

Are there still people awaiting return of their repaired LX-800s?


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5939275 - 06/25/13 08:13 AM

Quote:

No stock expertise here . . . none whatsoever.

No interest in Meade either, neither financial nor emotional.

I note though that share price on the NASDAQ is now UP to $3.70. Quite far north of the JOC offer of $3.45.

Considering the desperate news of the imminent demise of this company, it is a mystery to me why stock prices would be going up?

It's all right to hope for a Phoenix-like rebirth but this looks more like a death watch to my uneducated eye.

Are there still people awaiting return of their repaired LX-800s?




dawziecat,

People also thought Celestron was going through a death watch back in the day. They didn't die. I am pretty certain Meade will be around. Meade still has significant value, or legs, in my view. Coronado telescopes, LX200, LX600, LX850, etc. etc. - a lot of IP there and name recognition. It is just saddled with debt and cash flow issues.

I believe everyone got their repaired LX800.

I am part of the batch of the new LX850s (i.e. not a repaired LX800).


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jared]
      #5939353 - 06/25/13 09:17 AM

Quote:


Sorry--I had intended to say "digital astrophotography" which was quite new in the amateur world about 15 years ago. Obviously, there have been amateurs using hypered film, cold cameras, and ordinary 35mm for a long time.

The point, though, remains. I believe that a lot of additional astrophotographers have been drawn into the hobby in the past fifteen years or so with the advent of digital tools.




For the record, Celestron was there with digital imaging, too, partnering with SBIG to produce the often forgotten Faststar 8 and a camera to go with it. You might say that was more of an innovation than what Meade was doing at the time.


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mayidunk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5939372 - 06/25/13 09:31 AM

Quote:

Quote:


Sorry--I had intended to say "digital astrophotography" which was quite new in the amateur world about 15 years ago. Obviously, there have been amateurs using hypered film, cold cameras, and ordinary 35mm for a long time.

The point, though, remains. I believe that a lot of additional astrophotographers have been drawn into the hobby in the past fifteen years or so with the advent of digital tools.




For the record, Celestron was there with digital imaging, too, partnering with SBIG to produce the often forgotten Faststar 8 and a camera to go with it. You might say that was more of an innovation than what Meade was doing at the time.



Didn't Meade actually have to catch-up on prime focus imaging in a kind of "me too" fashion when they started producing Hyperstar compatible SCTs?


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5939420 - 06/25/13 10:03 AM

Quote:


Didn't Meade actually have to catch-up on prime focus imaging in a kind of "me too" fashion when they started producing Hyperstar compatible SCTs?




Meade never produced Hyperstar compatible OTAs. There was a conversion kit for their scopes produced and sold for a while by Starizona. Meade made a line of CCD cameras that were mostly notable for their use of a SCSI connection. Unfortunately, it was hard to get working. IMHO, their most important contribution was more humble, their DSI series, which were different from what else was available at the time.


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PatHolland
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5939430 - 06/25/13 10:13 AM

I agree with you Uncle Rod. Meade can definitely take a lot of credit for the amateur AP boom with the low cost CCD DSI cameras.

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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5939435 - 06/25/13 10:14 AM

No- Starizona did all of that work on their own. And when they attempted to collaborate with Meade to make hyperstar compatible ACF scopes (since it was no longer a Schmidt configuration, they needed data to work with the new prescription), Meade initially said yes then backed out. And that's why Meade compatible hyperstar disappeared.

In the same timeframe, Celestron actively collaborated to make the edge Hyperstar compatible. That's why it is a standard SCT in the front end and the flattening optics are in the baffle tube.

The excuse for blowing the deal was protecting proprietary information. Keep in mind this was from a business partner whose only hope of recouping his investment in a Meade ACF compatible hyperstar is if there are Meade ACF telescopes to put it on.

So, the decisions leading to where things are now have been made in all areas.

-Rich


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5939437 - 06/25/13 10:15 AM

Quote:

Meade made a line of CCD cameras that were mostly notable for their use of a SCSI connection. Unfortunately, it was hard to get working.




I believe that was the 416? Lotta threads on that one back in the day. I think there was a time when it just wouldn't work.

Jon


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5939460 - 06/25/13 10:31 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Meade made a line of CCD cameras that were mostly notable for their use of a SCSI connection. Unfortunately, it was hard to get working.




I believe that was the 416? Lotta threads on that one back in the day. I think there was a time when it just wouldn't work.

Jon




That was one of 'em...there were at least three (four?) in the line...


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5939468 - 06/25/13 10:35 AM

Quote:


That was one of 'em...there were at least three (four?) in the line...




Were they all SCSI? I remember one called the 208, I remember the long threads on the problems with the 416... not much about the others.

Jon


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bicparker
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5939477 - 06/25/13 10:37 AM

Terry,
The stock price doesn't always reflect the actual performance of the underlying business entity. It really just reflects the demand for the stock and what creates those demands. In this case, even though JOC's offer is $3.45, there is now a filed tender offer by MIT Capital for $3.65 per share. This is what really caused that bump in stock price.

The stock price for Meade should be viewed with a grain of salt in any case. This is a thinly traded stock with very sporadic volume. It's volume is extremely low and may only reflect one or two trades on a given day. I've seen large price changes in Meade simply due to an exercise of a single employee stock option or a bulk trade by an institutional investor.


Quote:

No stock expertise here . . . none whatsoever.

No interest in Meade either, neither financial nor emotional.

I note though that share price on the NASDAQ is now UP to $3.70. Quite far north of the JOC offer of $3.45.

Considering the desperate news of the imminent demise of this company, it is a mystery to me why stock prices would be going up?

It's all right to hope for a Phoenix-like rebirth but this looks more like a death watch to my uneducated eye.

Are there still people awaiting return of their repaired LX-800s?




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dawziecat
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: bicparker]
      #5939509 - 06/25/13 10:59 AM

Quote:

Terry,
The stock price doesn't always reflect the actual performance of the underlying business entity. It really just reflects the demand for the stock and what creates those demands. In this case, even though JOC's offer is $3.45, there is now a filed tender offer by MIT Capital for $3.65 per share. This is what really caused that bump in stock price.

The stock price for Meade should be viewed with a grain of salt in any case. This is a thinly traded stock with very sporadic volume. It's volume is extremely low and may only reflect one or two trades on a given day. I've seen large price changes in Meade simply due to an exercise of a single employee stock option or a bulk trade by an institutional investor.




Thanks for the education, David. It all makes sense.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5939579 - 06/25/13 11:44 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Terry,
The stock price doesn't always reflect the actual performance of the underlying business entity. It really just reflects the demand for the stock and what creates those demands. In this case, even though JOC's offer is $3.45, there is now a filed tender offer by MIT Capital for $3.65 per share. This is what really caused that bump in stock price.

The stock price for Meade should be viewed with a grain of salt in any case. This is a thinly traded stock with very sporadic volume. It's volume is extremely low and may only reflect one or two trades on a given day. I've seen large price changes in Meade simply due to an exercise of a single employee stock option or a bulk trade by an institutional investor.




Thanks for the education, David. It all makes sense.




Well, I am not sure it all makes sense.. but what David said does.


Jon


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5939653 - 06/25/13 12:25 PM

Quote:



Were they all SCSI? I remember one called the 208, I remember the long threads on the problems with the 416... not much about the others.

Jon




I believe the basic models, the 208 and 216, didn't have SCSI...you hand to move to the 416 or the 1616 for that...


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5939671 - 06/25/13 12:33 PM

"Sense" is a hard word to get our hands around at this point, it seems.

I don't know that the market is big enough to support two companies the size of Synta. Maybe I should say I'm fairly certain it can't. On the other hand, there just isn't infinite room at the top end for another RC optical or Plane Wave, so I'm struggling where this can go. I've been listening to what people have said and gathered more information. The sad truth appears to be neither Celestron nor Meade were ever really healthy at the same time.

This indicates to me whatever form the new Meade would take, it would have to be very different from the old Meade, Tasco, Celestron, Synta, or Bushnell if it was to survive. We aren't talking about cars, here- the market is quite possible to completely satisfy with very finite sales volume.

-Rich


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5939794 - 06/25/13 01:25 PM

Ah, but the smart businessperson would WANT to see Meade go bankrupt, that way they can get the company for pennies on the dollar AND the stockholders get nada......then you can sack the company for every penny you can squeeze out of it and walk away....as long as employees and the company product don't mean anything to you.....

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5939943 - 06/25/13 02:57 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Meade made a line of CCD cameras that were mostly notable for their use of a SCSI connection. Unfortunately, it was hard to get working.




I believe that was the 416? Lotta threads on that one back in the day. I think there was a time when it just wouldn't work.

Jon




The 416 was up against the ST-7. The 1616 (I never saw one) was up against the ST-8. They were much less expensive and, except for the SCSI thing and some shutter failures, were not bad. Even when SCSI got tangled up they could be used via RS-232. This was considered way too slow, but later on when I had an STL-11000 I found it to be about as slow as my 416 had been in serial mode. The 1616 would have been unusable in that mode (WAY too slow).


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mayidunk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5939998 - 06/25/13 03:26 PM

Quote:

Quote:


Didn't Meade actually have to catch-up on prime focus imaging in a kind of "me too" fashion when they started producing Hyperstar compatible SCTs?




Meade never produced Hyperstar compatible OTAs. There was a conversion kit for their scopes produced and sold for a while by Starizona. Meade made a line of CCD cameras that were mostly notable for their use of a SCSI connection. Unfortunately, it was hard to get working. IMHO, their most important contribution was more humble, their DSI series, which were different from what else was available at the time.



OK, thanks for clearing that up.


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WadeH237
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5940047 - 06/25/13 04:08 PM

Quote:

For the record, Celestron was there with digital imaging, too, partnering with SBIG to produce the often forgotten Faststar 8 and a camera to go with it. You might say that was more of an innovation than what Meade was doing at the time.




Yes!!

My first imaging setup was an Ultima 2000 with a wedge, Fastar (not Hyperstar) and a Celestron PixCel 237. It was a rebranded SBIG ST237. It's also where the "237" in my username comes from.

That was actually a pretty good setup for the day, but way primitive compared to what we have today. It was also over $7000 to buy it all. Imaging is so much more accessible today.

-Wade


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5940280 - 06/25/13 06:50 PM

The limitation of dropping Hyperstar capability was probably neutral. Though there are people like me who bought an 11" scope just to do hyperstar, that probably isn't all that common.

-Rich


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Stew57
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5940525 - 06/25/13 09:38 PM

Not that I wish ill for Meade but the management needs to be gone. They have rolled out products half working and poorly tested. They have left a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouths with poor service. With a buyout or sell off of IP there may be a future. More of the same looks like a recipe disaster.

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Patrick
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5940685 - 06/25/13 11:44 PM

Quote:

Though there are people like me who bought an 11" scope just to do hyperstar, that probably isn't all that common.





There are probably a lot of people buying 11" scopes who don't buy Hyperstar, but I'd guess there are quite a few people who buy a Hyperstar along with a C11.

Patirck


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Matthew Ota
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Patrick]
      #5940737 - 06/26/13 12:29 AM

I hope Meade survives in one form or another. Celestron needs the competition, and Meade has been very generous and helpful to me in past years, as I do a LOT of public outreach using their equipment.

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nitegeezer
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: Matthew Ota]
      #5940893 - 06/26/13 04:16 AM

Quote:

I hope Meade survives in one form or another. Celestron needs the competition, and Meade has been very generous and helpful to me in past years, as I do a LOT of public outreach using their equipment.




I will agree with that one. I have preferred Meade ever since I looked through a friend's 12" SCT. I am not saying Meade is the best, but I have been enjoying my scopes for many years now. It would just not be the same looking for new "toys" if Meade were to close their doors.


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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5940961 - 06/26/13 07:01 AM