The veteran publisher of Spanish motoring titles, Grupo Luike, is going into insolvency proceedings after 65 years in business. The group, which publishes the magazines Autofácil, EVO Magazine, Todo Terreno and Fórmula Moto and employs around 30 people, is insolvent. In 2021, this publishing house lost 369,000 euros, with a turnover of 1.9 million and financial liabilities of 1.2 million.
The opening of the liquidation procedure -initiated by the group itself- takes place in a particularly delicate year for the publisher, following the death in February of its founding president, Enrique Hernández-Luike, considered the architect of the consolidation of motor journalism in Spain. This loss was a critical turning point for the future of the company, whose board of directors is made up of the founder’s four children -Juan, Helena, Antonio and Carlos-.
In 2021, the group’s management decided to expand its revenue streams beyond advertising and to focus on new business lines, such as digital marketing, audiovisual production and the creation of user communities, among others. To this end, it agreed to hire five executives, including Michael Novack, as CEO, as of July of that year.
Eight months later, after the death of the founding president, the board of directors decided to paralyse all the predetermined plans and dismissed the new management team and three suppliers, with disciplinary dismissals and “without paying any settlement or compensation”, according to sources close to the group. This decision was successfully sued in court by some of those affected.
In this tense context marked, moreover, by a situation of economic insolvency, Luike Group decided a few days ago to enter into insolvency proceedings.
The marketing agency Digital Green, the only one interested in buying part of the Group.
Digital Green, a marketing agency based in Huesca, is the only one to date to have formally proposed a takeover bid for one of the production units.
According to this newspaper, this agency, which is a supplier of the group and has experience in offering digital support to the media, wants to take over the digital editions of Autofácil and Fórmula Moto and the subrogation of six workers -which would mean doing without more than twenty professionals- for 70,000 euros. This agency is also studying the purchase of the print editions of the aforementioned titles.
This approach has not gone down well with Luike Group employees, who consider the proposed price to be derisory, according to what this newspaper has been able to learn. At the moment, these employees are not receiving their salaries regularly or in full.
Digital Green sources indicate that the acquisition process is open, although “very advanced”. At the same time, the judge in charge of the tender has ordered the administrator to have it resolved before September, as other sources close to the operation indicate. However, it is not ruled out that other companies may be formally interested before the purchase takes place.
Commitment to motor journalism
The Luike Group’s entry into insolvency proceedings comes curiously at a time when large media groups are redoubling their commitment to motoring journalism.
In recent months, PRISA created PRISA Motor, a transversal platform directed by Alejandro Elortegui, former deputy director of AS, which covers all the sector’s information for all the group’s media; Atresmedia bought Diariomotor, Spain’s leading motoring information portal, at the end of last year; Unidad Editorial launched MARCA Coches; and the Merca2 group bought the historic Motor16 masthead, among other examples.