Absolutely Independent, the Amsterdam-based formats business owned by Nordic World, has filed for bankruptcy in a Dutch court, TBI has learned.
“I can confirm Absolutely Independent has had to file for bankruptcy,” Huseby said. “An estate, headed by a lawyer, has been formed and will handle everything.”
He added: “I, the management and the owners of Nordic World have thoroughly gone through this and really tried to turn it around; we have stretched to the limit to do that.”
Absolutely sold formats including Face Your Bullies, The Exit List, Find My Family and Behind Closed Doors.
Nordic World bought the company from its founder Patty Geneste for an undisclosed sum in a deal that was announced last January and closed last October. It ran the business as a separate entity from the core Nordic World, which is a distribution alliance owned by TV2 in Norway and TV4 in Sweden.
Last November, Nordic World terminated a consultancy agreement with Geneste, just weeks after completing the Absolutely deal, citing a disagreement over the future direction of the business, as TBI revealed at the time. Geneste couldn’t be contacted for comment today.
The process of notifying rights owners of the bankruptcy is underway, with intellectual property reverting to producers in the wake of the filing.
Producers owed money by Absolutely will be notified what, if anything, they will receive by a legal team appointed to oversee the bankruptcy. Nordic World is also understood to have lost a considerable, although unspecified, sum of money.
According to Huseby, the demise of Absolutely will not adversely affect the expansion plans of the Nordic distributor, which has been striking content deals with rights owners away from its core local footprint, including Boxatricks in the UK, as well as opening new international offices. He also said that the company retains the full backing of its broadcaster owners.
“We have been hurt by this too,” he said. “But Nordic World will remain on the offensive and continue what we have been doing with our owners behind us.”
Nordic World is understood to have spoken of attempting to work through the “financial disorder” at Absolutely in its communication to rights owners.
Huseby declined to comment on the specific financial problems at Absolutely aside from noting there were certain issues it could not have been aware of before taking charge of the business.