The Knot Imploding -- Tipster (KNOT)

We got the following anonymous note about The Knot (KNOT), which, truth be told, is a company we hadn’t thought about in a few days.  We have no idea whether it’s true.  Anyone at the company care to weigh in?

The Knot Inc. is tanking. Brain Drain – newly hired executive team touted six months ago already leaving for greener pastures after just six months. Janet Scardeno president and chief marketing officer left in September after just 6 mos. Salley Jones VP editorial director of online left in October. Lower level editors being let go and not replaced. See media bistro job ads — knot looking for “interns” for skilled jobs such as photo editors with no experience, no pay.

Founders David Lui and wife Carley Roney dumping stock. Public record.

Operations stuck in a mire. Content entry system not updated since initial launch 12 years ago. Wedding channel acquisition never properly intigrated. Macy’s registries down 60%. Macy’s has already said they will not re-sign when contract ends in 2010.

Lui shopping for takeover but books show very little savings to be had.

Company primed for hostile takeover.

The “tanking” description seems a bit shrill, although we would like to know why Janet and Salley left. Also, revenue has flatlined this year–even before the recession–which isn’t a great sign.

The company generated about $100 million of revenue last year with a 15% operating margin, so it’s hardly a bad business. It’s still trading at about 18X last year’s operating income, though, which could make a big takeover premium tough, especially in this environment.  The best plan is probably to stabilise management and ride out the storm.

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