UPDATE: Anderson Files Antitrust Lawsuit

The Web site is down. E-mails and phone calls have not been returned. There may not be a business anymore.

On Saturday, Anderson News, the magazine wholesaler, announced it was suspending “normal business activity,” but would “continue to hold discussions with publishers and retailers, trying to develop a viable model that allows it to remain in business.” On a pre-recorded conference call, CEO Charlie Anderson informed employees that they were not to report to work on Monday and not to return until notified to do so.

Now, the company has notified “most” of its staffers they have, in fact, been terminated, according to a blog post on Tennessee’s Knoxville News Sentinel Web site (Anderson was headquartered there). “Employees were being escorted out of the headquarters building on Brookvale Lane with boxes of their stuff in hand,” the post said.

It was not immediately clear if the company was shut down or perhaps sold to a rival wholesaler, such as News Group.

Anderson’s decision to suspend normal operations came roughly three weeks after it, along with fellow wholesaler Source Interlink, threatened publishers with separate 7-cents-per-copy price hikes. Publishers largely balked at the surcharge and refused to pay, upset at the wholesalers’ sudden and "unilateral" decision to boost costs. Source has since filed a lawsuit against those publishers as well as rival wholesalers, alleging a conspiracy to run Source out of business.

The decision to shut down or sell any company is a difficult one. This one, however, left Anderson staffers spending the better part of a week in limbo wondering what would become of their jobs.

Could this have been handled better? Could Anderson employees not have had to endure six days of just not knowing?

Maybe. Maybe not.

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