Agenting is a personal business. It depends wholly on trust. Most important, of course, is the author's trust, but publishers matter too, and it is all about the relationships. Trust goes with the individual, not with the agency, let alone its corporate owners. The only things that matter are the agents and their relationships. So if a big corporation wants to buy and run a successful agency it has to keep the agents content, and that may be more difficult than simply ensuring that they are well fed and watered. This is the root of all the problems at PFD.
The latest financial statement from CSS Stellar, issued on 28 September, says it better than anything else. On the opening page the Chairman, David Buchler, says: “The board is determined that all our businesses are operated in a way that will deliver maximum benefit to all Shareholders”. There is the problem - no mention of any benefit to agents, let alone authors, or God forbid, ordinary staff