Paul Steinle's Missives

Here's one of the so-called "hotline" messages posted in 1988 by then-new UPI president Paul Steinle, who came in with the FNN takeover::

416m memo 3-1 to: upi employees from: paul steinle re: second management update date: march 1, 1988 here is an update of upi's new management and the development of the forthcoming upi business plan. at theend of our first week, our preliminary analysis shows that the financial condition of the company has been deteriorating steadily and that monumental efforts are needed to save it from liquidation. Initially, upi needs immediate short-term financing to bridge the cash flow requirements until additional investors can be approached. in addressing upi's financing needs, over the weekend we sent the following letter to the attorneys for the wire service guild: " . . . united press international is facing an immediate and critical situation in the form of the funding of its ongoing operations. in order to temporarily relieve this crisis and to ensure upi's continuance during wnw group's business planning efforts over the next three weeks, wnw must immediately obtain approximately $1 million in loans to enable upi to begin paying past due bills for critical items such as health care, rents, telephones, etc." the letter offered the wire service guild the opportunity to participate in this short term loan financing. the letter also stressed how important it is that the guild adopt an esop plan by march 14, 1988. this will facilitate the guild's first right of refusal to the sale of upi stock. to put the current funding efforts in context, the letter to the guild went on to point out: "unfortunately loans are merely a stopgap measure. if we are able to craft a turnaround plan for upi, the financial situation at upi will require an infusion of capital, which can only be provided by a sale of stock or securities." at this point, it is out intention to raise further capital for upi through the sale of stock by means of a private placement as soon as a viable business plan is complete. here are other important upi developments: -- on sunday, february 27, we hired the firm of christopher burns and associates to conduct a survey for us on the attitudes of decision-makers in the news industry to upi. chris began his research on the 29th. he will conduct a minimum of 50 telephone interviews to give us initial feedback on the marketing problems we face. this will happen within the next several weeks. -- on monday the 29th, we sent a questionnaire to all bureau managers and the marketing field staff to collect their perceptions about upi's marketing problems. -- finally, if you have personal observations about the direction in which upi should head, i encourage you to send them to me at headquarters in washington, explaining why your recommendations are a good business idea. if you have complaints, i need to hear those too. but right now, i'd appreciate an emphasis on suggestions about how we can improve our service while our initial plans are being formed. -- a regular staff meeting is now scheduled for top management on thursdays at 1 p.m. here in washington. this meeting is needed to coordinate all upi activities and to make certain we are addressing the company's day to day needs. -- beginning march 2, i will also participate in a regular business and administration meeting in reston every wednesday at 9:15 a.m. other members of the senior staff will also attend as needed to facilitate communications within the company. -- we are working as quickly as possible to convene a meeting of upi's advisory boards and opinion-leaders in the news industry. this meeting is tentatively scheduled for thursday, march 10 here in washington and will give dr. brian and me an opportunity to talk to these important people about upi. i am also seeking some professional marketing research assistance to help us conduct these meetings and to make certain we achieve the greatest benefit possible from such an ad hoc advisory group. -- a marketing task force has been formed at headquarters to address the company's urgent marketing problems. it includes upi representatives from marketing and sales, editorial, accounting and communications. at present, the task force is meeting as needed to get our plan rolling as quickly as possible. more later. pms upi 03-01-88 05:05 pcs