Anthony Gallela, former (and current acting) Executive Director of GAMA, will lead the company formed to run Gen Con if the efforts of the Gen Con Acquisition Group are successful, he told ICv2 on Tuesday. “The investors are all outside the industry, very well funded, and can support the offer, and support Gen Con’s growth and development and continuation,” Gallela said. Gallela is also currently the VP-Sales and Marketing of Bucephalus Games (see “Gallela Leaving GAMA Executive Director Post”).
The offer from the Gen Con Acquisition Group came in on the eve of the filing of Gen Con’s final plan for emergence from bankruptcy (see “Eleventh Hour Offer for Gen Con”), and was subsequently rejected by Gen Con (see “Gen Con’s Adrian Swartout on New Offer”).
We asked Gallela why he thought the GAG’s offer was superior to Gen Con’s plan for emerging from bankruptcy. “The success and strength of Gen Con is very important to me, and to the rest of the industry, and to the fans,” he said. “So for me, the best thing for Gen Con is to have solid fiscal backing and the experience at the top of organization that can ensure that it continues in the best possible way.”
Gallela said that the GAG group would invest over a million dollars “to satisfy the debt and invest in the future.” Gen Con’s creditors would be paid faster under the GAG’s plan than they would under Gen Con’s plan.
And he reached out to current Gen Con management, saying of Gen Con President Adrian Swartout, “
Asked about the role of current Gen Con owner Peter Adkison, Gallela stressed his respect for Adkison and his appreciation for his success in other areas. But when it came to Gen Con, Gallela felt the show could do better. “Peter is an innovator and has been a longtime friend of mine,” Gallela said. “That doesn’t mean that he’s as good as Adrian or me at running a convention for game enthusiasts…. I think Peter is right for Hidden City Games, but I don’t think he’s right for Gen Con. I would have to assume he feels the same since he hasn’t been involved with running the show for two years.”
We asked Gallela what changes he would make in the way Gen Con operates. He noted the potential for expense reductions and expansion of positive aspects of the show, without more specifics. “For the fans, I don’t see substantial changes other than that the things that annoy them would be improved and the things they like would be more plentiful,” he said.
Gallela said that he knew of support for and interest in the GAG’s offer among the creditors, although he said he hadn’t “taken a straw poll.” “We have spoken to a number of the creditors, and our counsel has been talking to some of the creditors’ counsels,” he said.
We asked whether GAMA’s board was aware of his involvement in the acquisition group, and he indicated that it was, and that his efforts began as GAMA declined to make an offer. “GAMA did look at Gen Con because of its concern over the potential demise of one of the most important events in our industry,” he said. “GAMA did not want Gen Con to go away. But GAMA decided not to be involved in a hostile takeover, and that Gen Con would continue on whether run by Gen Con or an investment group.”
Gallela’s role as ED of GAMA was what led to the first conversations with Gen Con’s Swartout. “I did talk to
The investment group is not open to keeping Adkison in as an equity owner, although Adkison “would gain the paybacks given to
“We plan to work with Gen Con, and work with
The next step appears to be a reconsideration of the Gen Con Acquisition Group offer by Gen Con’s management, acting as debtor-in-possession. The creditors committee and the judge could also weigh in. Developing.